City of Winona must decide fate of alcohol sales within city limits

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

WINONA, TX (KLTV) - Winona residents will head to the polls for the second time Tuesday to decide if alcohol can be sold inside the city limits. Winona remained dry after the first vote in may ended in a tie. An investigation took place this summer and found that seven of the votes were cast illegally. A visiting Smith County judge ordered a new vote on the issue.

"It's obvious it's going to be another tight battle," said Pastor Tony Watson. "The first tight battle was flawed when seven votes were cast by people who didn't live in the city limits."

Smith County Elections Administrator, Karen Chaney, says there isn't much they can change this time around.

"[We] just instilled in the judges to make sure you ask every single person, 'Is this your correct address?' Other than that, there is really nothing we can do," Chaney said.

Meanwhile, residents on both sides of the fence fired up campaigns. Pastor Watson led the Keep Precinct 4 Dry Committee.

"I'm hoping for a significant 'against' victory, where it would be 10 or 15 votes that would say to the opposition that this is a town that does not want alcohol sold here," Watson said.

Winona Wins is the opposition group.

"You have to look at it from an economic point of view. It could bring more business to this area, and it could bring permanent jobs to the area," Winona Wins member Cindy Watson said.

Other "Yes" voters say they're tired of watching their tax dollars go to near-by cities.

"Big Sandy gets the money, we get the beer cans. We get their clutter," Mary Minyard said.

No matter the stance, all sides remain confidant.

"I think it is going to go this time," said Martin.

"We have seen a lot of great things happen lately that have indicated that things are starting to swing towards the no side," Pastor Watson said.

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