The 1960 presidential election in
Hawaii was held on November 8, 1960, as part of the
United States presidential election of 1960. This was the first presidential election in which Hawaii participated; the state had been admitted to the Union just over a year earlier. The islands favored Democrat
John F. Kennedy by the narrowest of margins: 115 votes, or 0.06%.
Initially it appeared Republican candidate
Richard Nixon had won in the state, as he was 141 votes ahead after the first count. A court-ordered recount was still underway when Hawaii's Republican governor signed the certificate from the GOP electors giving the state's three electoral votes to Nixon. On the same day, the Democratic electors also issued a certificate awarding the votes to Kennedy. The final recount showed Kennedy had actually prevailed, forcing the governor to sign the second certificate from the Democratic electors. Both certificates had arrived in Washington by the time Congress convened in January 1961, with then-Vice President Nixon charged with presiding over a joint session to certify his own election loss. Hearing no objections, Nixon ordered the Democratic certificate counted and ignored the accompanying Republican certificate, even though it also bore the governor's signature as required by federal law.