Another alcohol election possible

By Sara Story - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some Smith County voters may get another chance to vote on alcohol sales, come November. Residents of Justice of the Peace Precinct four, which is northeast of Tyler, are calling for another local option election to vote on the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

"It would increase sales. We have a lot of steady customers, every day customers," said Jessica Clay, an employee at Exxon Super Food Mart #2.

A similar proposition, that would legalize beer and wine sales for off-premise consumption in Precinct No. 4, failed last year.

Karen Nelson is the Elections Administrator for Smith County and says a political action committee is trying to get the alcohol option on the ballot again. They need at least 1,509 signatures. "They turned in, they told us they had a little over 1,700 names, but we have not started that verification process...We look in our voter registration system, make sure they are actually residents of JP 4," said Nelson.

Clay hopes voters will be open to the idea. She says other East Texas cities are now profiting from alcohol sales, including the City of Winona, which is part of Precinct No. 4. "Winona got it, Jacksonville went wet, so maybe. We are hoping [we do]," said Clay.

"I think it is a great idea. Definitely going to bring some business to our neck of the woods," said Joseph Garza, "For" alcohol sales.

Others remain opposed to the idea of a wet Precinct No. 4. "It's going to fail again. It makes the town uglier. The next thing you know, every time you turn around the corner there's going to be an alcohol store, alcohol store, alcohol store," said Letisha Cole, "Against" alcohol sales.

No matter the side, Nelson expects a larger turnout this time around. If the petition is approved, it will share the ballot with the Governor's race.

If Smith County Elections Office approves the petition, it must then go to The Commissioners Court. The proposition would go before precinct voters on November 2.

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