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Liquor stores, primary polls open together for first time

By Susan Simpson Published: February 6, 2008
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Voters had multiple choices Tuesday. Clinton or Obama? Chardonnay or Chivas?

For the first time in half a century, Oklahoma liquor stores were open during a presidential primary.

That's because voters in November 2006 repealed a 1959 law that kept liquor stores closed during polling hours on election days. The law aimed to keep politicians from swaying votes with libations.

The law was antiquated and created an economic hardship for retailers, said Dale Blackburn, owner of the Cellar Superstore in Oklahoma City. He said he lost five to 13 business days each year.

"That's lost revenue when I'm still paying rent,” he said.

Also, the number of days closed depended closely on the city and precincts, with some having many more local elections than others.

Jill Ogden, owner of the Cork and Bottle liquor store in Edmond, said she didn't think her business suffered in previous years because people made their purchases early or came in after 7 p.m.

"Then it was really busy for us, and that made it fun,” she said.

Amie Hendrickson, manager of the Edmond Wine Shop, said many are surprised to see her store open on election days.

"We are getting a lot of calls asking if we are open,” she said.


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