There’s more than one way to map an election
National Geographic - 10/11/2016
It’s possible that an earlier electoral map was published in a newspaper, but custom graphics were rare in those days, says Ryan Cordell, who studies information exchange in 19th-century newspapers at Northeastern University.
“Images were not very common in newspapers until late in the 19th century, save the stock images used for advertisements and some particular kinds of stories,” Cordell says. “The same image block of a ship might be used for lots of stories taking place at sea, for instance.” Custom woodcuts or engravings were just too expensive to do on a regular basis.
Cordell hasn’t come across an earlier electoral map in a U.S. newspaper, but he did find the map of Paris below, which shows results from an 1869 parliamentary election that undermined the power of Napoleon III and marked a turning point in French history.