It’s illegal to sell alcohol in South Carolina & Kentucky on election day

Wait, they vote for those people without being drunk? How embarrassing.

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Beer via Shutterstock

Let’s say the 2012 campaign—the flood of attack ads, the torrent of junk mail, the mere trickle of inspiring proposals—has you reaching for an Election Day drink. Tough luck, voters in Kentucky and South Carolina: No booze for you!Eighty years after Prohibition’s repeal, those states are the only ones holding on to bans on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars or selling it in liquor stores on Election Day, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. DISCUS is, as you can guess, not a huge fan.

What do you think, is this a good way to ensure good government, or just more leftover American puritanism?

I’m gonna get get a drink while you decide.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/manko.chinko.8 Chinko Manko

    Gonzo.. Restaurant I’m at wouldn’t give me beer until 7 PM.  They can’t serve until all of the polls in the state are closed (6 PM, local time) which means if you’re in the Eastern time zone, no beer until 7 PM.  Just thought I’d share!

  • Trish

    Check your sources, Chris in Paris! I’m afraid you are wrong. SC bars and restaurants can still serve alcohol, and stores can still sell beer and wine. It’s only liquor stores that must be closed on Election Day in South Carolina.

    I’m not sure where this mis-information started on the Internet, but it’s spreading like wildfire and bars/restaurants are getting calls from people asking if they’re open.

  • guest

     In SC bars and restaurants can still serve alcohol.  It’s just package stores that are closed.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    It’s from 19th century voting scandals, where votes were purchased for drinks.

    Nowadays, you could get votes by just promising to STOP all the GODDAMN POLITICAL ADS

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    No, it’s after the polls close that some people REALLY need their alcohol.  Sometimes extending for the next four or eight years. 

  • Naja pallida

    It is actually quite common to misuse the label “Puritan”, but they are not the ones responsible for the temperance movement. At least not directly. The Puritan Separtists who made up the majority of the Mayflower’s passengers actually settled in Plymouth, when they were supposed to be heading to just north of Virginia Colony, was because the ship was running low on beer, and the crew feared some kind of uprising onboard if they ran out. Alcohol production was one of the first major industries of the early colonists. They learned to make booze out of pretty much everything they found in the New World that could be consumed. It wasn’t until much later, that the temperance movement emerged from the Congregational churches.

    The US has a lot of silly laws regarding alcohol on the books. From dry counties, restrictions on alcohol sales on Sundays, to bans on importing wine into certain states… to silly things like it being just fine to drink an unmarked cup of booze in public, but if you’re drinking from a marked bottle, that’s illegal. Face it, we’re a stuck up society. We like to preach personal responsibility, but then whenever people who wish to impose their own morals on others get into governemnt they decide that other we as a society are not capable of making their own choices.

  • Naja pallida

    Of course, almost everyone was a boozer back in a time when it was safer to drink beer or whiskey than it was to drink unboiled water, and risk getting dysentery or cholera. Before widespread water purification, alcohol production was one of the top industries in the nation. Even George Washington himself was a whiskey distiller. When prohibition was passed, alcohol production was the fifth largest industry in the country.

    As for DVR devices. Political campaigns don’t seem to have figured out YouTube or that everyone has a cellphone camera these days, or that what they say can be shared in real time with the whole world. I don’t think they’ll catch on to DVRs being able to skip their expensive ads for at least another couple of federal election cycles.

  • Sev

    It is also illegal to sell alcohol in Massachusetts during polling hours. I’m not sure if that applies just to liquor stores or restaurants as well.

  • The Dark Avenger

     Alabama used to be one of those states that didn’t allow alcohol sales on Election Day, and Sundays to boot.

  • Tbeckii4

    Here in Puerto Rico there is also a dry law for election day. It begins at 11:30 the night before. Also, most businesses are closed on election day.

  • S1AMER

    Actually, selling booze used to be illegal in most if not all states.

    It goes back to very early elections when candidates would set up barrels of booze outside polling places and offer lots of drinks to their voters. George Washington did that, as did most candidates in the very boozy first half of the 19th century. Then prohibitionary puritanism started to take over, and electoral booziness diminished.

    I dunno. I’m a non-drinker, but I wouldn’t mind more campaign spending on booze and less on television ads anybody with a Tivo or other DVR ignores anyhow. As long as you can walk to the polls, what’s wrong with voting and drinking?
     

  • Krusher

    But you can smoke all the crack you want to.

  • kingstonbears

    A pre-mixed martini just doesn’t cut it.  The olives have a tendency of going mushy.

  • Indigo

    It’s just as well. I’d as soon we brought back Prohibition anyhow . . . oh, wait . . . we have Controlled Substances Laws now. Close . . . but no Speakeasy.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Um, no, it’s silly. “Gee, good thing I bought that bottle of Jack yesterday!” It in no way affects election outcomes, but probably gets Christianist puritans all wet in the drawers just thinking about other people wanting and drink and not being allowed to go buy one.

    More sensible: National, standardized rules with the force of law on voter registration, early voting, secure and reliable voting machines, and absolutely non-partisan control of our electoral process, including the counting, with 100% transparency.

    Anything less is a sham of democracy.

  • Gonzo_in_KY

    It’s not entirely true that alcohol can’t be sold in Kentucky on election day. Once polls close (6 PM, local time), alcohol can be sold. It’s a relic.

  • Jim Olson

    It it also illegal to spit on the sidewalks if there is a lady present there as well?  Silly.  

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