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4.6 | Politics and Pandemics

It was an election year and a worldwide pandemic was raging. Sound familiar?

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, the United States continued to hold its congressional midterm election, but with a few modifications. Candidates were not allowed to host political rallies or go on campaign tours, so instead they appealed to voters through news releases and mailings. At the polls, workers were often required to wear masks, and voters spaced themselves out while waiting in lines. While voter turnout was only 40% in 1918 compared to 52% in 1910 and 50% in 1914, it was clear that not even a catastrophic illness could stop the electoral process. See more Daily News election.

A crowd waits for election results on Madison Street between LaSalle and Wells Streets, 1918. DN-0070587, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM


The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. Established in 1856, the Museum is now at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, its third location. As a major museum and research center for Chicago and U.S. history, the Chicago History Museum strives to be a destination for learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming, the Museum connects people to Chicago’s history and to each other. To share Chicago stories, the Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents, images and other items that are relevant to the city’s history. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. 

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories