Failure to Deal With Partisan Politics [...]

Other countries have figured out how to administer elections in a nonpartisan way, but not the United States. And for that, we can blame the electoral system set up at this country’s birth, when the Founding Fathers made two crucial—and mistaken—assumptions. First, they thought they could prevent political “factions” from coalescing into two stable and antagonistic political parties that might find themselves directly at odds over an election and its results. Second, the Founders were unfamiliar with chief executive elections; the British king had appointed most colonial governors, so the Founders only had experience with disputes over elections to the British parliament or their own colonial legislatures. Because a fight over a single legislative seat was relatively inconsequential, the Founders decided to leave claims of fraud in congressional and state legislative elections up to those respective chambers to resolve. They also, regrettably, assumed that Congress could handle disputes in presidential elections, and state legislatures in gubernatorial elections.

Were they ever caught by surprise! As early as 1792, two opposing political parties already had formed: the Federalists and the Jeffersonians (sometimes called Democrats or Republicans or Democratic-Republicans). The competition between these two teams played out in both national and state politics that year. The first major allegations of vote rigging after the adoption of the Constitution were in New York, where the Federalists had convinced John Jay to run for governor in an effort to unseat the Jeffersonian incumbent, George Clinton. Jay, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, at the time was serving as the first chief justice of the United States. (His willingness to give up that position in order to be governor of New York illustrates the relative importance of the two jobs at the time.) (Source)

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