By Greg Bird
It’s your vote
As Kentuckians head to the polls next Tuesday for the General Election, McCreary County voters will have an additional choice to make when casting their ballots.
“Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in McCreary County, Kentucky?’” will be on to the ballot for the November 5 election.
The question was added after a successful petition with signatures of more than 1,400 registered voters was turned in to County Clerk Eric Haynes’ office in August, satisfying the legal requirements to call for the local-option election.
The November vote will be the third county-wide election concerning the possibility of legalizing alcohol sales in McCreary County over the past decade, but this will be the first time the question will be on a General Election ballot instead of a special election. In 2016 3,914 voters turned out for the special election, with a 32-vote margin deciding the issue. In 2012, the time previous, more than 5,000 citizens voted, with similar results – a 47-vote difference.
Historic downtown Stearns and the Stearns Golf Course used a precinct-level vote in 2014 to offer limited alcohol sales. That vote, held only in the Stearns voting precinct, saw “yes” votes prevail, 221-194.
According to the Kentucky ABC Board, as of last May 48, of Kentucky’s 120 counties are “wet,” and only 15 are completely “dry.” Other counties have cities, such as Burnside, Somerset and Williamsburg, where citizens have voted to go “wet.” Others, such as Wayne County have limited option sales as in wineries, distilleries or state parks.
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.
In addition to the wet/dry question, there will be six state-wide races, and one judicial race on the ballot.
Incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin is facing a challenge from Democrat Andy Beshear, and Libertarian John Hicks for the top spot in the state.
Democrat Heather French Henry is squaring off against Republican Michael Adams for the vacant Secretary of State office. A similar vacancy in the Attorney General office is being contended by Republican Daniel Cameron and Democrat Greg Stumbo.
Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon is being challenged by Democrat Sheri Donahue and Libertarian Kyle Hugenberg. Treasurer Allison Ball is being opposed by Democrat Michael Bowman, and Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles is running for another term and is challenged by Democrat Robert Conway and Libertarian Josh Gilpin.
A non-partisan race for Court of Appeal Judge, 3rd Appellate District, 1st Division will also be on the ballot with Jacqueline Caldwell and Michael Caperton vying for the seat.