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Small Kenton County Area Will Have Vote on Liquor Sales

There will be a local election in 2017 after all.

One Kenton County precinct - in Piner - will go to the polls on May 9 to decide whether it will allow the sale and consumption of alcohol. The precinct's "dry" status dates back to Prohibition, Kenton County Clerk Gabrielle Summe told The River City News.

There have been votes multiple times since the area went dry, most recently in 2009 when the "wet" effort was defeated.

This year, the owner of Corner Market, which sits on Bracht-Piner Road, is hoping for a more favorable result.

"He opened it up in August of last year," said Michelle Still, who spoke to RCN on behalf of Corner Market owner Sam Pastal, whose family also owns the Grocery Bag in Taylor Mill. Still helped with the paperwork and the effort to call for a public vote on the matter.

Under Kentucky law, individual precincts have the opportunity to determine their own wet/dry status through what is called a local option election. A petition to trigger such an election must include the signatures of 25 percent of the voters that cast a ballot in the most recent preceding general election. In November 2016, 539 ballots were cast at the Piner precinct, which votes at Piner Baptist Church. The heavily Republican precinct went overwhelmingly for President Donald J. Trump, 431 to 86, over Hillary Clinton.

Of those voters, the petition needed 135 signatures.

By placing the petition inside the Corner Market, Still said that Pastal and supporters did not have to go door-to-door to campaign for signatures. The signatures came to them.

"It was less time-consuming," Still said. 

But there will be campaigning. "He has had me make signs over the last two days, so we've got a bunch up at the store," Still said. It makes sense for Pastal to want to win. Petitioners have a couple of options when call for such an election: to hold it on the next regularly scheduled primary or general election in the county at the county's expense, or have the judge/executive pick a date and have the election at the petitioner's expense.

With no primary or general elections scheduled in 2017, Pastal would have had to have waited until May of 2018. Instead, he asked Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann to call for the local option election which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9. All other election rules will apply and the poll will be open from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. just as any other election in Kentucky.

The local option election does not include the Bracht precinct which also typically votes at Piner Baptist Church.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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