vote early and often

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Sep 28 16:58:38 UTC 2006

On 9/28/06, Dennis Baron <debaron at> wrote:
> I'm trying to pin down "vote early and often." Is there a source for
> this oft-repeated adage about Chicago politics?

Variations on the phrase appear as early as 1858 on Proquest, and not
in a Chicago-specific context. It was apparently already a known
expression by then.

Chicago Press and Tribune, Aug. 30, 1858, p. 3 [HNP 724409282]
The down-trodden Dutch and Irish, who, by the bigotry of Louisiana
were precluded from voting in New Orleans, were enabled, by voting
early and often, to turn the State over from Clay to Polk.
New York Times, Sep. 24, 1858, p. 4 [HNP 78862214]
Who were they that staid away from the polls? Not the dissipated
reckless and venal. Such were all on the spot -- they always are. ...
They vote early and vote often, and would be ready every month if
their country should need their patriotic services so frequently.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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