By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
A group of Bereans who want a referendum on selling alcohol by the drink in the totally dry southern Madison County city is seeking volunteers to help collect petition signatures.
Jim Lucas of Bereans for Economic Development said that when the group mailed out petitions to the registered voters in the city, about 300 envelopes were returned because the addressee no longer lived at the residence.
“Overall it cost us about $1,000 in mailing and printing costs,” Lucas said. “But we thought there may be some different eligible voters in those areas.”
The group plans to canvass the area on foot, knocking on doors to seek petition signers. The volunteers also will have voter registration forms available for those who are unregistered.
The group has received some outside support in various places, Lucas said. The Berea Country Club recently offered the use of two golf carts for the volunteers to use, he said.
Bereans for Economic Development has been circulating the petition since September. The group’s goal is to have a city-wide vote to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold by the drink in qualified Berea establishments. Package alcohol sales would remain illegal within city limits.
According to County Clerk Kenny Barger, the number of signatures required to call a referendum is equal one quarter of the votes cast in the city's for the most recent general election. Then, after review by the county clerk’s office that validates enough signatures, the petition will be certified and presented to the county judge/executive, who will set a referendum date in conjunction with the county elections board.
Signing the petition for a referendum does not necessarily show support for alcohol sales, Lucas said. Supporting the referendum only means a person is in favor of the issue going to the ballot to be decided by voters.
A copy of KRS 242.020 outlining the process for having a local option election can be found at the Kentucky legislature webpage, lrc.ky.gov.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Bereans for Economic Development or requesting more information may contact Tom McCay at 626-2426 Jim Lucas at 703-909-6574.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.