Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

February 10, 2014

DA: Election day liquor law is too vague to interpret

Wine event may have been issue if not rescheduled due to weather

TAHLEQUAH — Oklahoma election laws prohibiting the “taking” of liquors within a half mile of a precinct on election day appear to be too “vague” to interpret, local officials said last week.

Questions about the law surfaced when the Cherokee County Election Board sent out a reminder on various state election laws. According to Title 26 Section 7-110 of state law, “No person shall take intoxicating liquors of any kind or quality to within one-half mile of any polling place on an election day.”

Tahlequah Main Street Association was preparing to host its Wines of Winter event in downtown Tahlequah on Tuesday, Feb. 11 – the same day as the annual school election. Main Street Director Drew Haley, like many others, hadn’t heard of the statute, and said the wording seemed to raise more questions than answers.

“What does ‘taking’ mean? That’s kind of vague,” Haley said.

Wines of Winter was later rescheduled to Thursday, Feb. 13, because of anticipated weather conditions. But questions still lingered about whether the decades-old law could affect local bars, restaurants or homes – even future events – near a polling place.

“I don’t know how to interpret the law,” District 27 District Attorney Brian Kuester said Friday.

Kuester tried locating cases where the law was used in prosecution, but was unable to uncover any. Online research unveils little commentary on how others, over the years, have interpreted the law – or if they ever had to.

“I’m not aware of it ever going before a district attorney, and there are no opinions from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals,” Kuester said.

The law was placed on state books in 1975, according to Oklahoma statutes. In 1982, residents in Oklahoma County apparently made a flood of phone calls to the Oklahoma County Election Board, questioning whether polling places could be located near liquor stores.

Then-Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Donald Easter, acting as the legal adviser to the election board, claimed the presence of liquor within half a mile to a precinct would not threaten an election’s results, according to an archived story on The Oklahoman’s website.

Easter, who said violation of the law could be a misdemeanor, told The Oklahoman back in ‘82 the law was not meant to place more restraints on elections, in his opinion.

“The law is a prohibition of the general public doing something that the Legislature thinks is improper, and in my estimation, this is not the basis for an election contest,” Easter is quoted in the newspaper as saying.

At the time, Easter suggested an election board official ask for “voluntary cooperation” by businesses and distributors.

Under Oklahoma law, it is also illegal to be within 300 feet of a polling place while drunk on election day.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Stocks