Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

November 7, 2012

Petition submitted for wet-dry vote in Carter

By Kenneth Hart - CNHI News Service

Nov. 7, 2012 —     A petition was filed Monday in the Carter County Clerk’s Office seeking a wet-dry election in a single Grayson voting precinct.

    The petition, which contained 44 signatures, requests a local option vote be held on Jan. 12 in the North Midland Trail Precinct.

    According to Keith Bays, who circulated and filed the petition, the precinct runs parallel to Carol Malone Boulevard. It takes in a large flat area of land bordering the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 that has been open to development for a number of years.

    Bays said one of the reasons he decided to seek the wet-dry election was people who’d tried to develop the property had told him the lack of legal alcohol sales was a huge impediment to attracting national restaurant chains.

    “I’m just trying to boost the local economy and build the tax base,” he said. “I’ve lived in Grayson all my life, and I go to Ashland and Cannonsburg all the time to eat and I see what (alcohol sales) have done there.”

    Currently, the Rock Springs Winery near Carter City is the only place in Carter County where alcohol may be bought and sold legally.

    The signatures on the petition must still be verified by the clerk’s office. Bays said 33 signatures must be verified as belonging to registered voters in order to force a wet-dry referendum.

    Bays said he received “a ton of positive responses” while circulating the petition and could’ve gotten more signatures had he wanted to.

    “Everyone’s looking for the same thing I’m looking for,” he said.

    If Bays’ petition contains enough signatures to trigger a vote, it will be one of two special referendums on alcohol sales to take place in the region in January. Voters in Greenup County will head to the polls Jan. 22 to decide if alcohol sales should be allowed there again after a more than 65-year hiatus.

    The local option election follows a successful petition drive to get the issue on the ballot. It was initiated in late summer by locals seeking to spur economic growth.

    About 1,650 signatures of registered Greenup County voters were verified from the more than 2,600 collected. According to state law, 25 percent of voters who cast ballots in the last general election had to sign the petition to trigger an election.