Stores Sell Liquor on Election Day for the First Time in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As candidates wait to hear who will be West Virginia’s next governor, there’s already a big win for business owners in the state.

For the first time in the Mountain State, liquor is allowed to be sold on Election Day.

Matt Meyers is the manager at The Liquor Company in Charleston. He doesn't usually work on election days because of an old law prohibiting liquor sales.

“That's a lot of money for one day to lose,” Meyers said. “It's not really profitable for smaller stores, independent stores like ours, to stay open to just sell wine and beer.”

The loss of revenue is something retailers couldn't handle, so they took their concerns to the Capitol. This past June, lawmakers finally lifted the Election Day liquor ban.

“They lost upwards of more than a million dollars on a particular Election Day,” Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said. “It's really an archaic law that has been on the books for many years and one that the legislature probably should have removed years ago.”

It leaves some to wonder why it was illegal in the first place.

“They said for the longest time people would try to buy votes with the mini bottles or pints and half pints of different liquor, which I think you could do the same thing if you just said, 'Hey, meet me at the bar after this and I’ll get you a beer.' It's the same thing,” Meyers said.

While stores weren't allowed to sell liquor on election days, bars and restaurants were. However, it was still a problem for those businesses, as well, because they had to buy the liquor from the stores.

The law was actually passed before the primary special election for governor, but didn't take effect until June.


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