January 7, 1789. George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on April 30, 1789. Washington was elected through the first demonstration of the U.S. Electoral College system. Established by the U.S. Constitution, today the system gives all American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote for electors. Voters cast their ballots to choose state electors who, in turn, cast their vote for the president and vice president. In 1789, only white men who owned property were allowed to vote for the electors. All 69 of the electors voted unanimously for Washington that year.