published Monday, October 29th, 2012

Alcohol back on ballot in Pikeville

KEY DATES AND HOURS

Early voting continues through Thursday at the Bledsoe County Election Commission office at the county courthouse on Main Street. Early voting hours are 4-7 p.m. CDT Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m.-noon CDT Wednesday and Thursday. On Nov. 6, polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.

Source: Bledsoe County Election Commission

Voters in Pikeville, Tenn., will weigh in for the second time in two years on whether to allow liquor sales at restaurants and package stores.

City voters narrowly defeated liquor by the drink and package sales in November 2010, but there's no telling how a large turnout for the Nov. 6 presidential election might affect things, Bledsoe County Administrator of Elections Lisa Wheeler said.

As of Friday afternoon before early voting started for the day, 697 county residents had cast early ballots or voted absentee, Wheeler said.

In 2010, Pikeville residents voted 121-103 against liquor by the drink and 115-108 against package sales.

Wheeler said early voting has been "extremely busy," but said she's heard much more talk about the presidential race than the liquor issue.

Voters elsewhere in the Sequatchie Valley have been receptive to alcohol sales. Dunlap voters approved liquor by the drink and package store sales in November 2008, and Kimball voters gave the thumbs-up to liquor by the drink the same year.

Passing laws to allow liquor in municipalities can change a county's beer sales rules under Tennessee law. Bledsoe stores now cannot sell beer on Sunday.

But if city voters approve either or both liquor referendums, stores in the county will be allowed to sell beer on Sunday under state guidelines, ABC Executive Director Shari Danielle Elks has said.

Under state law regulating alcohol sales, hours are 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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