Posted on May 31, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Win or lose, South Carolina candidates running for office this year may be able to do something that their brethren in most other states are already able to do: Buy an alcoholic beverage on Election Day.
South Carolina is poised to repeal its ban on liquor sales on statewide election days following the state Senate’s approval Wednesday. The Palmetto State is the last with a statewide Election Day ban on liquor sales, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
“I’m trying to bring South Carolina into the 21st Century,” said state Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Democrat who sponsored the bill to repeal the alcohol ban. “Election Day is about sorrow or joy. You should be able to buy a drink.”
The South Carolina law dates back to at least 1882 and was intended to reduce corruption and bribery during elections, Reuters reported. Alaska and Massachusetts also have Election Day liquor bans, but local governments can choose to opt out of the restrictions and most already have.
Sellers, who is running for lieutenant governor, says the issue is not a partisan one but a matter of supporting small businesses such as liquor stores, bars and restaurants. “Businesses should be open when they choose and keep government out of the way,” he said.
The measure has already passed the state House and Bakari says it will again after the Senate amended it.
If South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, signs the repeal measure into law, her state will become the seventh since 2008 to rescind a ban on statewide Election Day alcohol sales, the Distilled Spirits Council says.
While Election Day alcohol sales may be on the horizon, don’t expect the conservative state in the Bible Belt to allow liquor to be sold on Sundays anytime soon.
“We’re in the South,” Sellers said. “We still have certain restrictions.”