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Washington Bone Dry, Referendum 10 (1918)

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The Washington Bone Dry Act, also known as Referendum 10, was on the November 5, 1918 ballot in Washington as a veto referendum, where it was approved, thus ratifying the legislation. The measure effectively prohibited alcohol except for religious purposes.[1]

Election results

Washington Referendum 10 (1918)
Approveda Yes 96,100 63.89%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

An Act prohibiting the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors, forbidding the importation, transportation, receipt and possession of such intoxicating liquors except for sacramental purposes, regulating the importation, transportation, receipt and sale of alcohol and the importation, transportation and receipt of intoxicating liquors to be used for sacramental purposes, repealing certain sections and amending certain sections of Initiative Measure No. 3 and adding certain sections to such measure.[2]


In 1916, Oregon passed a "bone dry" law prohibiting the importation of alcohol. On January 8, 1917, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of bone dry statutes. Advocating for a bone dry law in Washington, the Women's Christian Temperance Union encouraged the state legislature to consider a bone dry law. In the Washington House of Representatives, the law passed 75-18. Governor Ernest Lister (D) signed the bill on February 19, 1917. The following day, opponents of the act filed notice for a veto referendum against the bill. The federal government, however, passed the Reed-Randall Bone Dry Act prior to the vote, which would have invalidated the referendum if voters overturned the bill.[3][4]

Path to the ballot

Referendum 10 was filed on February 20, 1917. Signatures were submitted to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.[5]

See also

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