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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

Published from 1875 to 1978, the Chicago Daily News was one of the most widely read publications in the city, with annual revenues approaching $15 million at the end of World War II. Today, the Daily News photograph archive is housed at the CHM Research Center, and you can explore it online. See the Daily News Photograph Collection.

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