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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


ABOUT THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing Chicago stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

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