Most elections have a process to challenge the results of the election, to request a recount or to identify irregularities in the election process. How often have the results of the US Presidential election been challenged in this way. e.g. Gore/Bush).

Not interested in multiple votes to break a deadlock (e.g. 1800), or differences between the electoral college vote against the popular vote.

I am curious as to how many times, in U.S. history, have presidential contests have been challenged or disputed? I am not including the opinions of discontents, but actual legal challenges.

  • 4
    100% of the time. Just last election, I heard someone say, "Horatio T. Fassbeinder should have won!" (He was a 3rd party candidate who ran a write-in campaign in one state.) More seriously, I think you need to define what you mean by "challenged or disputed", By whom? How seriously? Need the dispute have reasonable grounds?
    – Mark Olson
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 20:42
  • 3
    Define "contested". For example, its still an article of faith among many Republicans that in the 1960 election, JFK "bought" Illinois with fake votes from dead voters and LBJ did something similar for Texas with votes in heavily Hispanic counties.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 21:03
  • I've attempted a friendly edit to remove the ambiguity between "challenged" and "contested". An election is "contested" when there are at least two candidates - all US Presidential elections have been contested. I think you mean to ask if the election results have been "challenged" . This still has some problems, since the US Presidential Election is the electoral college and I'm aware of only two possible challenges. State election of electors may have been challenged. But I oppose re-open until the question has research & definitions.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 17:21
  • I don't think my question is ambiguous at all. I didn't ask how many times there were multiple candidates for election in the presidential races, but how many times the results of the election have been contested, officially. I meant, for example, in the Gore vs. Bush contest. As far as defining "officially," I am not that picky--I mean in the various ways that can happen. For example, I believe the election of 1800 was contested in the sense that both Jefferson and Burr received the same number of votes, so no one could be named president until that dilemma was solved.
    – PQ51
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 17:27
  • 1
    I'm going to eat some crow here. You were factually correct - in at least one source, the definition of contested election matches what I believe you inteded to ask. I, and I think many others preceived an ambiguity because of the definition of an uncontested election. I believe the revised version is clearer. (See also first contested election)
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


See Wikipedia

  • 1912
  • 2000
  • 2020

Given that the Presidential Election occurs in the electoral college, it is much more likely that states' election of electors would be challenged. That makes the question much more complex.

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