Voting & Drinking: No Booze Before Ballots!

Illustration for article titled Voting & Drinking: No Booze Before Ballots!

Guatemala (and many other countries) bar sales of alcohol around election time to reduce poll-related violence and in the hopes that people will make better choices when they're not wasted. Makes sense, right? Well, maybe, depending on what you think "makes sense." The results of a special Jezebel analysis of voting and drinking after the jump.


In case there's any doubt, the accompanying picture is an actual polling place, in an actual bar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philly's kind of a blue-state kind of place, right, even if you don't take into account that they set up voting booths in bars. But, you might ask, what about dry counties?

There are, give or take, 271 dry counties in the United States, which is to say there are at least 271 counties in this great nation where I really would object to ever living. If you match those up with the county-by-county results of the 2004 Presidential race, you find that only 5.5% of dry counties (that's 15 of 'em) went to Kerry.

Well, okay, you say, but dry counties tend to equal conservative places, right? Probably true. But fully 10 percent of self-identified Democrats and 7 percent of self-identified Republicans voted for the other party's candidate in 2004, and one would think that party identification would be a more reliable indicator of which way a person would have voted in 2004 than an accident of geography and old liquor distribution laws.

So, basically, keeping people from drinking seems to actually have encouraged them to vote for Bush, rather than the other way around. We're intrigued! Want to help prove or disprove my analysis? Vote again like it's 2004!

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Don't Drink and Vote, Guatemala Says [Wall Street Journal]
Dry Counties [State University of New York at Potsdam]
2004 Election Results [CNN]
Voters' Views By the Numbers [USA Today]



In Australia, we are coming up to our Federal election on November 24th. We have a selection of windbags, spivs, buffoons and liars not dis-similar to your lot (Despite the U.S. being a Republic and Australia a Constitutional Monarchy, American and Australian politicians would have little trouble adapting to each others systems. The main difference is scale. Your President Elect becomes Leader of the Free World; our Prime Minister Elect becomes head of that insignificant little place on the other side of the world where people talk funny and spend lots of time swimming).

One thing we do have that the U.S. doesn't is compulsory voting- Which brings me to the point of this post.

Election time here is about the only time I find it hard being a non-drinker. I have to actually go into the booth sober and cast my ballot. So in a couple of years time, when my representatives of choice begin to demonstrate the true breadth of their ineptitude, I won't even be able to blame the booze...