Election called for alcohol sales

SMITH COUNTY, TX - Smith County Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to call a local option election for the legal sale of alcohol in Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, Monday. The local option election will place two alcohol-related items on the ballot for the May 9 election.

The two potential ballot items are for "the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only," and "the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only." The items will only be voted on by the residents of J.P. Precinct 4.

The Smith County Citizens for Economic Growth submitted the 1,509 signatures required to call for an election to Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Cheney in early February. Ms. Cheney verified the authenticity of each signature as a registered voter in the J.P. Precinct 4 boundary.

Commissioners must call the election by law.  The decision to allow alcohol sales in Smith County will be determined by those living in the affected area.

"The outcome of this election is entirely in the hands of the voters J.P.  Precinct 4," County Judge Joel Baker said.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 includes parts of Tyler, Winona, New Chapel Hill and Overton, and spans the north-east corner of Smith County.

As of this date, no opposition group has filed with the elections office.

Election Facts:

  1. On Monday, Feb. 23 the Smith County Commissioners Court called a local option election for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4.
  2. The local option election is being held in Justice of the Peace Precinct 4; this is different than Commissioner Precinct 4. JP Precinct 4 is in the north-east corner of the county.
  3. Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton is not a representative of the voting area.
  4. There are two issues on the local option election ballot; one is to allow for the sale of alcohol in restaurants without a private club membership and the second is for the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.
  5. Commissioners Court is required by law to call an election when a petition with an appropriate amount of signatures is submitted to them. The Commissioners Court does not vote on or have a say in the outcome of the election.
  6. For this election to be called, 1,509 verifiable petition signatures were needed. The Smith County Elections Administrator matched 1,520 signatures to registered voters with addresses inside the JP Precinct 4 boundary.
  7. The outcome of the election is completely in the hands of the voters in JP Precinct 4.