Election 2012: Liquor elections not as controversial but, Knox City as example …
A liquor election in 2012 may seem as anachronistic as the Wright brothers piloting a B-1B Lancer or Charlie Chaplin using an iPad, but they still happen.
Nearly 30 wet/dry elections were recorded in Texas 2011, according to data kept by the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
In the Big Country, Knox City voters will decide May 12 whether to approve the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.
“This has not been a very hot issue in a long time,” said Paul Fabrizio, professor of political science and vice president for academic affairs at McMurry University. “You have to go back to a different era of politics to find really contested elections about alcohol and the selling of alcohol. It’s just the way society has moved.”
Since 2003, the state has recorded at least 395 wet/dry elections, and of those, only 60 failed, according to data from the Secretary of State’s office.
Fabrizio said cultural acceptance, a push for personal freedom and economics have played a role in the shift.
“When people have more freedom to do what they want to, marry who they want to, even smoke marijuana in some states, it seems anachronistic to prohibit people from buying alcohol,” Fabrizio said. “…It was a different era when those kinds of things were important enough to get many people hot and bothered.”
And many cities welcome the opportunity to keep tax dollars in their communities, Fabrizio said.
Chad Roberts, Knox City administrator, said residents there drive about 15 miles to Goree or 18 miles to Haskell to buy alcohol. If the measure is approved, Roberts hopes the measure will help boost sales taxes in Knox City.
Roberts said 120 of the city’s 1,130 residents signed a petition earlier this year requesting a wet/dry election. He hasn’t heard much backlash, but he did receive a letter from the First Baptist Church with 29 signatures opposing the measure.
Typically, elections draw 85 to 100 residents in Knox City, Roberts said, but he ordered 300 ballots to prepare for a larger-than-usual voter turnout.
Abilenians waged war at the ballot box and then in courts when they were deciding whether to allow
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