Council could repeal Fayette's ban on Election Day alcohol sales later this month

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comAugust 12, 2014 

A measure lifting the ban on Election Day alcohol sales in Fayette County could be passed by the end of this month.

The Urban County Council's General Government Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved moving forward with a resolution that repealed an ordinance that banned alcohol sales while polls are open — from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — on Election Day. There was no debate or discussion before Tuesday's vote.

Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, who proposed that the city examine the issue, said she has not heard of any opposition to lifting the ban.

The full council will have to give the ordinance two readings before it takes effect. That means that the ban could be lifted as early as the end of this month.

"I think this is an outdated law. It's time we took a look at it," Gorton said during Tuesday's meeting. "Many cities have already repealed the ban on Election Day alcohol sales."

The General Assembly passed a law in 2013 allowing cities to repeal the prohibition. At the time, Kentucky and South Carolina were the only two states that restricted alcohol sales while polls were open. South Carolina has since repealed its law.

Louisville lifted its Election Day alcohol sales ban earlier this year.

The law dates back to the Prohibition when many saloons also served as polling places. Many states also continued the ban out of fear that people would trade booze for votes.

Gorton pointed out during Tuesday's meeting that the restrictions on alcohol sales during polling is also a fairness issue.

"There are few products that we tell business that they cannot sell on certain days," Gorton said.

If no opposition to the repeal materializes, the ban could be lifted by this year's general election on Nov. 4.

Beth Musgrave: (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall.

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