Wet-Dry question rises again
With the third anniversary of the McCreary County wet/dry vote a little more than five months away, proponents of allowing alcohol sales in the county are circulating a new petition with the hopes of bringing the matter to the voters again this fall.
Brian Hill, former candidate for County Judge Executive, is one of the driving factors behind the latest signature drive, and spoke about the newest drive.
“So far, it has been going great,” he said. “We have only been circulating the petition for a few days and already have hundreds of signatures.”
Hill stated he is just one of several “concerned citizens” who are circulating the petitions, but admits he is one of the more visible ones due to his past candidacy.
With the larger number of voters casting ballots in last year’s General Election, the number of signatures required to get the question placed on a ballot has risen from the last time the matter went before the electorate, when jutst over 500 were needed.
With 5,123 votes cast last November, to get the alcohol referendum on a ballot this fall will require 25 percent of eligible voters to sign the petition per state law, meaning 1,304 signatories of valid voters are needed on the current document in order for a special election to be called.
Scottie Morrow still has a court case pending regarding the outcome of the 2012 election. Morrow has challenged the results of the election, citing allegations of active electioneering in a polling place, precincts allowing voting without ID verification, allowing residents of Tennessee to vote, and allowing voting after the cut off time.
That election saw the “dry” supporters prevail over “wet” advocates by just 47 votes, only one percent of the total ballots cast.
Morrow’s attorney, in a recent court hearing on the case, argued that the results of the 2012 election should be thrown out and a new one held – without the requirement of a petition, since the number of signatures has increased since the original petition was circulated.
Judge Dan Ballou took that argument, as well as the defendant’s request to dismiss the lawsuit under advisement.
Hill stated the newest petition is not meant to supersede Morrow’s lawsuit, but instead to act as a back up plan if no resolution can be found before the November election.
“This was one of my campaign platforms when I ran for Judge,” Hill said. “It is not for personal gain, it is for the betterment of this county.”
“Wet” advocates hope the recent Stearns Precinct election to allow alcohol sales in the historic district will help bolster support for the county-wide election. Last fall 53.2 percent of voters in the precinct approved the referendum, but to date no actions have been taken to license any location in the downtown Stearns district to actually sell alcohol.
Hill stated there is no specific date on the petition to hold the special election, to allow County Judge Executive Doug Stephens and County Clerk Eric Haynes to set the date
KRS statutes stipulate a special election cannot be held within 30 days of a general election, but must be held within 90 days of turning the petition into the County Clerk’s Office, which could put the election possibly in late September.
Hill stated several local businesses have agreed to host the petitions. These businesses include: Papa’s Pizza, Tower Crafts, Pine Knot Laundry, Little South Fork Grocery, Marathon, SpeedCo, Valero and Rick’s Pawn. Additional locations to sign the petition are coming soon.
For more information on the petition you can visit the McCreary Co. Going Wet Facebook page at www.faecbook.com/mccrearyco.goingwet or contact Brian Hill at (606) 310-3299.