Election Day alcohol ban continues in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For the first time in decades stores and restaurants across Kentucky will be able to sell alcohol on Election Day, while the polls are open. But because of an preexisting ordinance businesses in Lexington will not be joining them.

Last year Senate Bill 13 changed a number of Kentucky's alcohol policies, including the statewide ban on selling alcohol while the voting polls were open.

"But removing it from the state didn't remove any local ordinances that may or may not have passed," said Roger Leasor, the director of community relations for Liquor Barn. "Not every city had one."

But Lexington did. While the state law did away with the ban, it also said any city could pass a new ban and any existing bans were still in place.

"I think everybody assumed that the state law took care of it for Lexington, and no one really thought to look to see if there was a local ordinance on the books," Leasor said.

By the time that ordinance was discovered it was too late to get it removed in time for this election. Leasor says Liquor Barns in Louisville, Danville, and Bowling Green will be open normal hours on Election Day while the Lexington locations, and dozens of other liquor stores, will be closed until 6 p.m.

"You can say you would recapture those sales later, but that's not really true," he said. "I can sit in my office and I can watch people drive up with out-of-state plates get out of their car, walk up to the door, push on it, read the sign scratch their head and go back in their car to drive somewhere else and spend their money."

Lexington city leaders have said they hope to have the issue resolved by November. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton has put this issue into a council committee for discussion.

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