Randolph County may vote on alcohol sales in November

The goal is to have at least 4,000 legitimate signatures by early August.

By George Jared
Talk Business & Politics

A new grassroots organization, Let Randolph County Vote, will attempt to get the question of alcohol sales on the November ballot in Randolph County.

It’s the third attempt since 2014 to allow for a vote on alcohol sales in the dry county, and LRCV Chairwoman Linda Bowlin told Talk Business & Politics those pushing for a vote have learned a lot from past failures.​​​​​​​

Arkansas’ law requires 38% of registered voters in a county to sign a petition to allow a wet/dry vote, meaning at least 3,813 voters had to sign in Randolph County in 2016. A different organization, Keep Revenue in Randolph County, spearheaded the effort in 2016, and collected about 6,000 signatures, but only 3,452 were validated by the Randolph County Clerk’s Office. A circuit court suit filed by the proponents challenging the clerk’s finding was unsuccessful.

There were 10,056 registered voters in the county as of mid-March, meaning the group will need to collect roughly the same number of signatures from registered voters as was needed for the previous effort. As of late March the group has collected slightly fewer than 1,000 signatures. The goal is to have at least 4,000 legitimate signatures by early August. There has been no public opposition to the effort, but Bowlin isn’t sure how long that will last.

This election cycle will be different, Bowlin said. If an invalid signature is found on a petition, then state law dictates all signatures on the page be declared invalid, she said. The 40 or more volunteers and paid canvassers are putting only one signature per page, meaning if the signature is struck, it alone will be struck. The organization has held a couple of “drive thru” events at parking lots on heavily traveled areas in Pocahontas to collect signatures, Bowlin said. Read more.

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