Judge denies restraining order against alcohol election - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Judge denies restraining order against alcohol election

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Matthew Thigpen, a managing partner at Ladd & Thigpen, P.C. Matthew Thigpen, a managing partner at Ladd & Thigpen, P.C.
Bob Westbook, treasurer of Buy Local First! Bob Westbook, treasurer of Buy Local First!
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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Visiting Judge Andrew Kupper has denied the restraining order that was filed on Monday to stop a vote for Proposition 1 and 2, which would allow beer and wine sales in Tyler and Smith County JP2 if passed, according to court officials.

Two people requested the TRO in Smith County Monday. Attorney Matthew Thigpen's clients filed the injunction to delay the vote until all the signatures can all be verified.

"We have questions about the seal on every single one of the county, because so far I cannot find any evidence that they actually have the county seal on them, which would potentially nullify all the signatures for the county," said Thigpen, managing partner of Ladd & Thigpen, P.C.

On Monday afternoon, First Administrative Judge John Ovard requested that Visiting Judge Andrew Kupper review the TRO request in Smith County.

According to court officials, a hearing is not necessary for a decision; Kupper could review the documents and make a decision in judge's chambers.

Thigpen says he has been working with several concerned citizens, including his clients, for several months after they say the county did not properly respond to multiple public information requests for copies of the petitions.

"The city indicated to us that they would comply. It would just take them a little bit of time because of the massive amount of documents that they had to review," said Thigpen. "The county, however, took a different approach and indicated to at least one of the concerned citizens that at this point, they had produced enough documents to satisfy what they felt was part of the public information request, and that any additional document request would not be granted."

If the judge decides the election cannot or should not be delayed, Thigpen's clients will ask that the election results be enjoined, or kept, from being tabulated and certified to the Secretary of State's office in Austin. In addition, the same will be asked for all early voting ballots that have been cast.

And on the other side Bob Westbrook, treasurer of Buy Local First says,"Our view is that our elected leaders of the city and the county have done their due diligence. They certified the signatures on the petitions and then called the election once they had enough signatures on the petitions to do so and we feel that they have done their job,"

Local group Buy Local First! also released a statement Thursday afternoon supporting the vote.

"Once again we stand by the County Commissioners and City Council and their staffs who did their jobs as required by Texas law," the statement said. "The opposition has now raised this issue in three jurisdictions - City of Tyler, Smith County and Sulphur Springs - and in all three their claims were resoundingly rejected."

"Every citizen of Tyler and Smith County should be outraged at these frivolous actions and show their displeasure by making their voices heard on Tuesday with a resounding vote for Props 1 & 2 on both the City of Tyler and the Smith County JP 2 ballot," the statement continued.

If granted, the temporary restraining order would last for 14 days.

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