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Was the 1960 Presidential Election Stolen? The Case of Illinois

Edmund F. Kallina
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 15, No. 1, Inaugurating the President (Winter, 1985), pp. 113-118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27550168
Page Count: 6
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Was the 1960 Presidential Election Stolen? The Case of Illinois
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Abstract

The 1960 presidential election was the closest of the twentieth century when measured by the popular vote. John F Kennedy managed narrow margins in a number of critical states to carry him to victory over Richard M. Nixon. Because of the close call in Illinois (Kennedy won by an official count of 8,858 votes), the unsavory reputation of the Chicago Democratic organization, and certain newspaper reports, Republicans and Nixon became convinced that they had been cheated out of enough votes to have swung the state into the Republican column. This article analyzes these Republican allegations, which have been widely accepted, on the basis of two partial recounts of paper ballot precincts which were conducted in Cook County (Chicago) in the aftermath of the 1960 elections. This analysis shows that there was a pattern of miscounting votes which worked to the advantage of all Democratic candidates involved in the recount. The analysis also shows, however, that of the Republican candidates deprived of votes, Richard M. Nixon suffered the least. By comparing the two recounts and by making estimates based upon them it is possible to approximate a minimum number of votes Nixon lost as the result of election irregularities in Chicago. This figure of slightly less than 8,000 votes is not sufficient to make a convincing case that Nixon was cheated out of Illinois' electoral votes.

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