Tomorrow evening, many Americans will might have a drink or two — to celebrate the election results, mourn their losses or kill a few brain cells with drinking games until this endless election season is over. But in Kentucky and South Carolina the festivities will likely be much more restrained.
These states still uphold restrictions on the sale or serving of alcohol on Election Day, although seventy-nine years have passed since the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition. Since 2008 five states with similar laws — Indiana, Delaware, Utah, Idaho and West Virginia — have lifted the bans, which reportedly were instituted to prevent the exchange of votes for liquor, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS).
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“The Election Day sales ban is a relic of the Prohibition era when saloons sometimes served as polling stations,” Ben Jenkins, vice president of DISCUS, said to Yahoo! News. “Repealing the ban on Election Day alcohol sales would provide consumers with much-needed convenience — whether they’re celebrating election returns or mourning them.”
One of Kentucky’s legislators, Democratic Representative Arnold Simpson, has tried to lift the booze ban five times — most recently in early July — without success. Simpson argues that buying votes with alcohol is an issue of the past. The state’s restaurants, bars and stores lose $4.5 million in revenue each year due to the ban, according to Kentucky.com.
South Carolina representatives, on the other hand, have made no move to change their law, which prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sundays and on election days. Violators face misdemeanor charges, which include jail time (between 60 days and two years for first and third offenders, respectively) or fines (between $200 and $2,000 for first and third offenders, respectively).