Times Journal

Posted June 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

On July 23, 2013 the city of Jamestown will once again be voting on whether to allow the limited sale of alcohol within the city limits.

County Clerk Lisha Popplewell said that the process is moving along well, and that County Judge Gary Robertson has returned to her office an Executive Order to place the approved question on the ballot for the special election in which only registered voters of the city of Jamestown will be allowed to vote.

Popplewell said upon receiving the petitions of over 200 registered voters on May 20 of this year from Greg Shaw, representing a group known as “Progress Jamestown,” she then recorded she had received the petitions before notifying the County Judge.

Popplewell said she met with the judge, county attorney and sheriff to discuss the matter and proceeded as stipulated by KRS, and insured that the question, as appeared on the petition and is outlined in KRS was written properly to be put on the ballot.

Following that, Popplewell said the judge’s office sent her a request asking her office staff and board of elections to verify signatures. Popplewell said they did this by matching names to a database of registered voters of the city of Jamestown who voted in the last election.

She then wrote a letter in response verifying that at least 25 percent of voters in the last election in the city had indeed signed the petition.

It is then that the judge sends response to the county clerk with a directed order to set the vote process up within the 90 days of the petition’s original submittal.

A poorly written ballot in 2009 led to some voters voting twice on the issue.

The ballot question in 2009 asked citizens of the Lake Precinct to vote whether to allow for limited sales, and the same for Jamestown’s Precinct. The difficulty was the ballot also asked the question for citizens of the city of Jamestown, which encompasses sections of Jamestown Precinct and Lake Precinct, leading the voters of the city of Jamestown to vote twice on the issue.

The result of the vote led to the most difficult scenario in that both precincts voted “yes” to the limited sales of alcohol, while the city of Jamestown voted “no,” leading to a situation in which sections of the precinct were a yes vote, and a no vote.

The votes were:

Jamestown: 243 for, 274 against.

Jamestown Precinct: 227 for, 215 against.

Lake Precinct: 242 for, 203 against.

Ultimately the courts found the ballot question invalid and all of Russell County remained dry.

Prior to the November 2009 election, the city of Jamestown voted 362-242 against allowing for the “moist” sale of alcohol.

The ballot question has been set on the two machines that will be at Jamestown Elementary, as well as the absentee voting machine that will be located within the County Clerk’s office and will appear as written in the petition as such, per KRS 242.190:

“Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink in Jamestown at restaurants and dining facilities with a seating capacity of at least one hundred (100) persons and which derive at least seventy percent (70%) of their gross receipts from the sale of food.”

The county board of elections will meet later this week to set when the absentee voting will be allowed, but according to Popplewell, must be open at least 12 business days prior to the election. She said she expects her office will receive the absentee ballots into her office sometime this week.

Popplewell said the county board of elections, consisting of Daryl Robertson, Victor Hill, Lee Smith and herself, will also inspect the machines to make sure all tallies are set to zero and that the ballot question appears as stated.

While the legal drinking age is 21, voters who have turned 18 and are registered will be allowed to vote.

Popplewell said that new voters, new voters to the area or if you’re going to be out of town or if you are in some way incapacitated or if you’ve recently moved, you need to notify the County Clerk’s office by June 25 at 270-343-2125.