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Special Election Today To Determine City Smoking Ban

Corral Bar

Corral Bar, on Main Ave, is one of the few smoking bars in Bismarck.

It’s been heatedly debated for well over a year… extending Bismarck’s smoking ban to cover all bars, truck stops, and tobacco stores. The current ban allows exemptions for such entities.

Supporters of the smoking ban have argued for the rights of everyone to enjoy clean air at all openly accessed facilities, while opponents have expressed concerns over potential revenue impacts and the rights of business owners to effectively choose how to operate their privately-owned businesses.

The fact that nearby Mandan and Lincoln do not, as of yet, have full smoking bans has given opponents an added point of concern over potential lost local bar revenue in Bismarck.

Last August, the Bismarck City Commission approved an extension of the current smoking ban; however, two months later, a petition circulated by the Employees for Individual Freedom, which consists mainly of bar employees, was properly submitted that opened the door for a special election.

The special election being held today, Tuesday, April 19, will allow Bismarck residents their chance to voice whether to uphold the City Commission’s approved smoking ban or not. The ballot also includes initiatives whether or not to approve smoking shelters (aka “butt huts”) and whether or not to use sales tax money to fund the special election.

Residents north of Divide Ave are to vote at VFW Sports Arena, south of Divide Ave at Bismarck Civic Center. Polls are open from 7am-7pm.