After months of political debates, campaigns, social media comments, and commercials, many Americans are ready to cast their votes, go home, and break out the booze. Whether or not your favored candidate wins the election, alcohol is considered essential to many election day celebrations … or pity parties.
Unfortunately, if you’re from South Carolina or Kentucky, you’ll have to toast with sparkling cider.
Eighty years after the Prohibition’s repeal, every state has let go on bans on serving and selling alcohol on certain days of the year … except South Carolina and Kentucky. In those two states, if you want to make a toast to the future president, buy the day before, or go without.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) is, obviously, not a huge fan of these two state’s lag-behind law.
“The Election Day sales ban is a relic of the Prohibition era when saloons sometimes served as polling stations,” according to DISCUS Vice President Ben Jenkins. “Repealing the ban on Election Day alcohol sales would provide consumers with much-needed convenience—whether they’re celebrating election returns or mourning them.”
In 2008, South Carolina and Kentucky weren’t alone: Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Utah and West Virginia had similar Prohibition-esque laws. Since the last election, however, these states have eased up. Kentucky has been considering lifting restrictions.
Not South Carolina, however, which is definitely “holding on to the regulations that were originally designed to curb the practice of buying votes with booze.”
South Carolina’s law says: “It is unlawful to sell alcoholic liquors on Sunday except as authorized by law, on statewide election days, or during periods proclaimed by the Governor in the interest of law and order or public morals and decorum.”
Breaking South Carolina’s law is a misdemeanor offense. A first conviction can carry a fine of $200 or 60 days imprisonment. That goes up to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for one year on second offense. Caught and convicted a third time? The fine rises to $2,000 and jail time goes up to two years.
So, if you’re in South Carolina or Kentucky, go buy that bubbly now, or forever hold your peace. Or, at least, hold your peace until Wednesday.