Electoral Commission, in United States history, a body of 15 members appointed by act of Congress, January 29, 1877, to pass on disputed electoral votes in the 1876 Presidential election. Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, had more electoral votes than the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, but was one vote short of the required majority. Electoral ballots from four states were in dispute. Tilden needed only one of these disputed votes to win, but Hayes needed them all. In Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, both parties sent in electoral ballots. The Republican ballots were certified by the election officials, who were Republicans. In Oregon, the Republicans won the election, but the Democrats claimed that one of the Republican electors was ineligible.
Congress could not agree on how to decide the dispute since the House was Democratic and the Senate was Republican. Congress then set up the Electoral Commission with five senators, five representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court. By a strict party vote of eight Republican members to seven Democrats, the commission accepted all the disputed Republican electors. Hayes won the election 185 to 184. Many historians believe, however, that Tilden should have been awarded the votes of at least two of the disputed states and thus have been elected President.
In 1887 Congress passed the Electoral Count act, making each state responsible for settling disputes over its own ballots.