U.S. Election Day Alcohol Sales Laws

On Election Day, ethical candidates and other government employees want voters to take the privilege of voting seriously and cast their ballots with a clear head after learning about the issues, which is why at one time Election Day alcohol sales were banned across the country.

A Brief History of U.S. Election Day Alcohol Sales Laws

The history of U.S. Election Day alcohol sales laws is actually quite interesting. Over 100 years ago, a ban on alcohol sales was instituted because saloons and bars were once used as polling places, and oftentimes candidates would win an election simply by buying a drink in exchange for a person’s vote.

In order to ensure more fair election results, alcohol sales on Election Day were banned in bars and saloons. Later on, this ban spread to restaurants with liquor licenses and liquor stores. Ironically enough, the ban didn’t always apply to grocery stores that sold alcohol. This meant that while the Election Day ban hurt the business of some establishments, they actually aided grocery store sales during Election Day, with some stores doing a booming amount of business.

These laws didn’t prevent people from drinking before they voted; however, since they could stock up on supplies the day before the election and drink if they chose to.

But times change, and eventually the U.S. Federal Government left it up to individual states and jurisdictions to determine the laws concerning election day alcohol sales. And once the laws changed, more and more states began to allow alcohol sales on Election Day.

Recent Years: Changes in U.S. Election Day Alcohol Sales Laws

By 2008, there were only seven states still having any type of ban on Election Day sales of alcohol. These states included: Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Alaska, and Massachusetts.

By 2010, only five states still had some type of ban on Election Day sales of alcohol. By 2012, only two states (Kentucky and South Carolina) still upheld Election Day alcohol sales bans. In 2013, Kentucky removed their ban, leaving South Carolina the last state to still cling to those outdated laws regarding alcohol sales and Election Day. The next year (2014), all 50 states had lifted their bans on the sale of alcohol on the day of the election.

This means that bars, restaurants, and liquor stores can now sell alcohol on Election Day, and every state has placed the responsibility on the individual voters to remain sober and clear headed when voting for elected officials and the passing of new laws.

There is no evidence that lifting these alcohol bans has in any way affected the outcome of an election in any way, nor does it appear that masses of people show up to vote who are inebriated. The people who vote do so because they want to have a voice in who represents them in government, and they know how to watch Democratic debate issues with objectivity, as well as Republican debates. While the laws governing Election Day alcohol sales may have once served a purpose, they are no longer necessary; therefore, removing such laws from the books simply makes sense both for the businesses that depend on their alcohol sales and for the voters who take electing those who represent them seriously.

How do you feel about the history of U.S. Election Day alcohol sales laws? Are you registered to vote? We’d like to hear your thoughts below!