What Are Local Option Elections?

Following the demise of Prohibition, local communities maintained the right to choose whether to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. Many communities decided to remain “dry” or “partly dry,” which meant that alcohol sales were banned or restricted. Many communities conducted elections and voted to legalize the sale of alcoholic beverages. Those communities who were “wet” prior to Prohibition automatically reverted back to their original status.

Entire counties, individual cities, or single justice of the peace (judicial) precincts in Texas have local control over what types of alcoholic beverages can be legally sold in their communities. Citizens in a community can hold a local option election and decide to legalize or prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, and if so, what kinds of alcoholic beverages (beer, ale/wine or distilled spirits). Communities can legalize a wide range of options from only beer, only for off-premise consumption; or beer, wine and distilled spirits for on- or off-premise consumption; and nearly anything in between. Registered voters can determine whether it will be legal to sell alcoholic beverages in convenience or grocery stores, in liquor stores, in bars, and/or in restaurants.

Of course a community can be totally dry, where the sale of any type of alcoholic beverage is illegal.