DeBlog: Did Minnesota Used To Ban Booze On Election Day?

Minnesota — home of blue laws that ban alcohol sales on Sunday.

We have city-run liquor stores here. We only recently allowed breweries to have their own tap rooms.

So no surprise that Lee Ann Chevrette emailed me today, “When I was younger the bar & Liquor stores were closed till after polling. When did this all change??”

I had to ask around, because most of my coworkers didn’t remember that.

Turns out, Minnesota outlawed liquor sales on national election days until 1985, according to the Secretary of State’s office — so 28 years ago.

According to, Kentucky and South Carolina remain the only two states without booze on election day. Mind you, prohibition was repealed 79 years ago!

In Kentucky, the booze ban lasts until polls close (6 p.m.). In South Carolina, it goes all day.

Since 2008, Indiana, Delaware, Utah, Idaho, and West Virginia have lifted their bans.

Why did they exist in the first place? Two reasons.

First, there was fear that people would pay off voters with booze (which would be nice, if you ask me).

Second, saloons were polling places back in the day. There is an existing Minnesota law that doesn’t allow voting to take place in a location that serves or sells alcohol.

More from Jason DeRusha

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