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Delaware and Idaho repealed their bans earlier this year.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 In the 43 states, plus the District of Columbia, where these bans are no longer in effect, this practice does not appear to have been revived in the absence of the sales ban, so perhaps the remaining states can feel secure in bringing their laws up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.