Monday, November 3, 2008

Can You Drink on Election Day?

Because I live in Illinois, if I want to go to a bar and have a drink tomorrow after I vote, I can. But if I still lived in Kentucky, I could not.

Seventy-five years after the Repeal of Prohibition, archaic Election Day alcohol sales bans continue to inconvenience consumers and hurt small businesses in a handful of states across the country.

The only states that still cling to statewide Election Day sales bans of alcohol at restaurants, bars and package stores are Kentucky, Indiana and South Carolina. Utah and West Virginia still ban the sale of alcohol at package stores on Election Day. Alaska and Massachusetts also ban Election Day alcohol sales, except that local governments are authorized to provide an exemption from the ban.

Delaware and Idaho repealed their bans earlier this year. Utah relaxed its ban and now permits Election Day sales in restaurants and private clubs.

Before Prohibition, a favorite political tactic was the practice of "treating," in which political operatives would round up people who would rather drink than vote, ply them with alcohol, and then lead them to the polling place, sometimes going into the booth with them to make sure they voted correctly. In the 43 states, plus the District of Columbia, where these bans are no longer in place, this practice does not appear to have been revived in the absence of the sales ban, so perhaps the remaining states can feel secure in bringing their laws up to date too.


Doctor Tarr said...

Indiana allows alcohol sales after the polls close, so I'll be crossing the river to sample the New Albany Brewing Company's special Electimus brew.

Unknown said...

Tennessee doesn't allow the sell of alcohol from any place of business until after 6:00 PM. I'm 44 and have NEVER heard of this ridiculous law.

Max Watman said...

All day I've been humming a line from an old "X" song:

"Honest to goodness the bars weren't open this morning / they must have been voting for a new president of something."

When I was a grad student our school was closed, too. Teachers and booze are not to be trusted.

sku said...

Crazy stuff! I'm happy to live in California where I can get booze pretty much anywhere at anytime...except Very Old Barton.