Wisconsin Federal Prohibition Enforcement Advisory, Question 3 (1926)

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The Wisconsin Federal Prohibition Enforcement Advisory, also known as the The Beer Referendum, was a Wisconsin referendum / advisory question on the November 2, 1926 ballot in Wisconsin, where it was approved.

This referendum sought the people's opinion on whether to advise congress to amend federal prohibition enforcement to allow for the manufacturing and sale of beer with less than 2.75% alcohol content.[1]

Wisconsin was one of eight states with a ballot question relating to alcohol and prohibition during the 1926 general election.[2]

Election results

Question 3
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 349,443 66.30%
No177,60333.70%

Official results via: The Wisconsin Blue Book 1927

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

"Shall the congress of the United States amend the "Volstead Act" so as to authorize the manufacture and sale of beer, for beverage purposes, of an alcoholic percentage of 2.75% by weight, under government supervision, but with the provision that no beverage be purchased shall be drunk on the premises where obtained?"[3]

Support

Supporters of the measure contented:

  • The Volstead Act as it stood was allowing the rich to continue having expensive hard liquors, while the average worker was being deprived of their beer.
  • 2.75% alcoholic beer is not intoxicating.
  • A modification of the act would help stop bootlegging and associated crime.[4]

Opposition

Opponents of the measure contented:

  • The nation was more prosperous under prohibition.
  • A 'no' vote would increase respect for the government and help stop bootlegging.
  • The consumption of milk and other dairy products increased under prohibition.[5]

Lawsuits

The constitutionality of this question was challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the case of Fulton vs. Zimmerman, et al., but was sustained in an opinion written by Justice E. Ray Stevens.[6]

Path to the ballot

  • Legislative Approval: SJR 42 & JR 47 (1925)[1]

See also

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References