Tribune-Courier News Editor
Marshall County residents have one week from Tuesday to decide how to vote on a local option for alcoholic beverage sales.
If passed, according to the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the measure would allow beer sales in groceries and convenience stores, wine, beer and liquor sales in package stores, and wine, beer and liquor sales in restaurants of a specified size. All vendors would need state and potential county or city licensing, and would be subject to state and local regulations.
“I have no idea what the turnout will be like,” Marshall County Clerk Tim York said. “I think there will be a big turnout. We had 15,000 vote in the presidential election 4 years ago. I wouldn’t be shocked to see at least that many for this one.”
The referendum will be overseen by the same committee that oversees scheduled elections. York said the committee consists of himself, Sheriff Kevin Byars and a representative from the Republican and Democratic parties.
Both Say No Now and Marshall 1st, the groups representing dry and wet positions respectively, had a chance to list potential polling site workers. York said only Marshall 1st submitted a list of only about 20 names. The balance of poll workers needed will be filled from a roster of workers compiled from scheduled elections.
“Absentee voting has been pretty big,” York said. “As of Friday, we’ve had about 140 people vote on the machine, and sent out slightly less than 100 mail-in ballots.”
York said registered voters must vote from their designated polling places on July 17. Books are now closed to register to vote in the referendum. He anticipates lines to be longest from 4 to 6 p.m. as voters leave work.
Keith Travis, spokesman for Say No Now, said he appreciated the support his organization has received. He forecasted a high turnout for the referendum.
“One side is touting this as economic development and progress,” Travis said. “We’re on the side of social, moral and community good. I think we’ve supported that with our facts and figures. We think Marshall County is a great place to live and raise a family.”
Sissy Womack, spokeswoman for Marshall 1st, also predicted a large voter turnout. She said alcohol use and abuse is already in Marshall County, and a yes vote allows the county to control sales and retain money spent in other counties.
“Basically, we want to make sure everyone gets out to vote,” Womack said. “We hope people vote yes because our economic growth depends on it. This is what we’ve spoken about all along. Whatever the outcome, we hope nobody complains.”