May 29, 2013 — Based on a number of factors, it appears that public interest in Grayson’s upcoming wet-dry special election is definitely on the upswing.
Yard signs and other “yes” and “no” messages are popping up at homes and businesses. Comments on Facebook and other social media sites are more numerous and more intense.
The “wet” side, in the person of Keith Bays, is publishing an ad in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.
The ad on Page A-7 encourages Grayson residents to vote “yes” when they go to the polls on Tuesday, June 11, on the question of allowing legal sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits.
The ad speaks primarily to local economic advantages of being “wet” enjoyed by residents of Ashland, Cannonsburg and Morehead.
The opposing side, calling themselves the Citizens for Positive Progress, published a “no” ad two weeks ago. That ad focused on the social problems associated with alcohol consumption.
Bays said Tuesday that he was “very encouraged” by the responses of persons who visited his information table on Main Street while attending the Memory Days Parade last Saturday.
“We had a few questions about the issue but the vast majority of those who came by said they intended to vote ‘yes’ at the election,” he added.
Bays says he is expecting a big turnout for Grayson’s first wet-dry election in nearly 42 years.
On July 2, 1971, Grayson voters decided by a tally of 751 to 261 for the city to remain “dry”. Olive Hill voters made the same decision that day, as well.
One of the leaders of the opposition shares the prediction of a heavy voter response.
“This is a passionate issue for many of us and it’s not restricted to religious beliefs,” said Kyle Burchett, pastor of New Beginnings Assembly of God Church. “There is a larger question here about what we want this community to be in the future. We are urging people to vote that day because it’s their right to make such a choice in a free country.”
Burchett said he agrees that interest is growing each day and that the result will be a large turnout on June 11.
Also appearing in today’s Journal-Times is a public notice from the Carter County Board of Elections to remind voters that only legal residents of Grayson are entitled to vote in the local option election.
Voters who will be out of town or otherwise unable to vote in person on June 11 may vote at the county clerk’s office at the courthouse up until the day before the election.
Tuesday, June 4, is the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot for those who prefer to vote by mail.
It is too late to register to vote for the special election because state law says voter registration books must close 30 days before an election.
It will be the second time in five years that any voters in Carter County have participated in a local option election.
Residents of the Iron Hill precinct voted 78-34 in 2008 to allow Rock Springs Vineyard and Winery to sell wine on its premises. Rock Springs is licensed as a small farm winery.
Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, Carter County voters favored legal alcohol sales by a vote of 2,445 to 1,721.
That changed four years later when county voters switched the county back to “dry” on a tally of 2,581 to 2,128.
Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, statistics compiled three months ago listed 37 counties as “dry”, 33 as “wet” and 50 as “moist” in that they have cities or individual precincts where alcoholic beverages may be sold legally.
By virtue of the legal winery sales, Carter County is considered “moist”.
Regardless of the outcome on June 11, the issue cannot go back on the ballot for at least three years, according to state law.
Keith Kappes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 800-247-6142.