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Alcohol vote on November ballot

By Greg Bird
birdman@tmcvoice.com

McCreary County Clerk Eric Haynes announced Wednesday afternoon that there were enough signatures of registered voters on a petition turned in to call for a vote on the possibility of legalized alcohol sales in the county.
After a week of checking the names on the petition against voter registration records, a total of 1,439 signatures of registered voters were found, more than enough to get the proposal placed on the ballot in November.
The question: “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in McCreary County, Kentucky?’” will now be added to the ballot for the November 5 election.
The petition, turned in last week by organizer Tony Hansford, had over 1,500 signatures, but several were disqualified for being non-registered, registered in another county or duplicates.
Haynes stated the Clerk’s role in the process was only to check to make sure the petition signees were registered voters in the county, not to verify any of the signatures.
The petition will now be sent to County Judge Executive Jimmie Greene II who stated Wednesday afternoon that he will do what is legally required of him to place the question on the ballot.
About 1,313 valid names were needed on the petitions to certify that the question could be added to the ballot. A successful petition requires signatures of at least 25-percent of total votes cast in the last General Election. That election, held last November, saw 5,251 voters head to the polls locally.
Even with the petition having enough registered voters signing, there still is a question if the measure will pass this year. The past two times a county-wide vote was held on the possibility of alcohol sales the question failed by a margin of less than one percent of voters in each of the special elections.
But, after changes in state laws, this will be the first time the alcohol question will be included on the ballot in November instead of a special election needing to be held. This election will feature state-wide races such as Governor and Secretary of State, which could help drive voter participation.
If the measure passes, the County would have to establish its own ABC Board, which would be responsible for outlining the exact parameters of alcohol sales locally. The Board could establish a limited number of locations eligible to sell beer, wine or spirits in package sales. It could also outline restrictions or prohibitions on bars or restaurants.

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