Grayson County residents will soon be casting their ballots in a special election to decide whether or not the county goes “wet.”
According to County Clerk Sherry Weedman, a petition with 1,467 signatures was turned in requesting the election.
Each signature card read:
Petition for the sale of alcoholic beverages in Grayson County
We the undersigned registered voters hereby petition for an election on the following question:
“Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Grayson County, Kentucky?”
Unlike the current allowance of “moist” alcohol sales in the city of Leitchfield, which allows restaurants which seat at least 100 patrons to sell certain types and amounts of alcoholic beverages, this new vote could pave the way for unrestricted alcohol sales in certified establishments throughout the county, which could range from restaurants to liquor stores to bars.
Weedman explained that in order to schedule such an election, a petition must be turned in with enough registered voters’ signatures to equal 25 percent of the voters who participated in the most recent general election.
This petition was submitted to Weedman’s office on Nov. 9, just six days after the 2015 general election which brought a turnout of 5,225 voters. That made the required number of signatures 1,307.
Voter turnout during the most recent election was significantly lower than the previous year’s 8,000 plus voters.
Had the petition been turned in just a week earlier, it would not have met the requirement.
Petitioners requested a vote date of Jan. 12, 2016, which was approved by the Grayson County Fiscal Court during the group’s Friday, Nov. 20 meeting.
“We have to do it once they get enough signatures,” Judge Executive Gary Logsdon said, explaining that the group is legally required to set a date and host the election.
All 22 county precincts will participate in the vote; however there will be changes in some of the voting locations.
Because schools will be in session on the day of the vote, any residents of precincts which typically vote at a school will be sent to other locations. Those who vote at the Grayson County Middle School will be redirected to the Chamber of Commerce; while those who usually vote at Clarkson Elementary School will be moving to the Clarkson Community Center just down the street.
Additionally, those who typically cast their ballots in the basement of Short Creek Methodist Church may be visiting a different voting location as well.
Church members will vote on Sunday to decide whether they will host the special election in their building.
The special-called election will cost the county in excess of $25,000 according to the Fiscal Court.
The cost for printing ballots, using voting machines, and other expenses of that nature will run close to $15,000, while another $9,000 to $10,000 will go to pay workers to man voting precincts. Additional costs will be incurred for the rental of alternate voting locations to replace the schools.
Reach Brittany Wise at 270-259-9622 ext. 2014.