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Gov. Haley Repeals Law Banning Election Day Liquor Sales

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Liquor stores like Palmetto Spirits in Spartanburg will now be allowed to remain open on election days. Liquor stores like Palmetto Spirits in Spartanburg will now be allowed to remain open on election days.

Booze and ballots can now mix in South Carolina.

A bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Nikki Haley repeals a statewide Election Day ban on liquor sales.

“It is about moving South Carolina further into the 21st century. It was an antiquated, outdated piece of legislation from the 1800s,” said state Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Democrat who sponsored the bill to get rid of the alcohol ban.

Lawmakers who are in-favor of the legislation are not the only people toasting.

I think there are so many old laws on the books,” says owner of Palmetto Spirits Jim Cox. “This is a step in the right direction."

According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, six other states have also rescinded similar laws since 2008.

The statewide ban dates back to the prohibition era and was intended to reduce corruption and bribery during elections, says Cox.

“But those days are probably over, so I think it is time to do away with it."

The Election Day ban costs South Carolina merchants an estimated $1.1 million in sales and the state about $105,000 in taxes, said Jay Hibbard, vice president for government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

It also has meant less time on the clock for liquor store employees.

“It is just they are taking a day away from us for no reason,” says Shay Tucker who works at Palmetto Spirits. “We could be making extra sales on that day."

Now, hundreds of businesses and workers across the state will be able to cash in on Election Day. Voters return to the polls for the state's primary June 10.



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Emily Pace
Emily is a general assignment reporter covering Buncombe, Polk, Rutherford and Henderson Counties.
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