Appeal filed on local option election in Saline County | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 8, 2014

Appeal filed on local option election in Saline County

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 6:38 PM

As expected by Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips, who allowed a local option alcohol ballot question to appear on the Saline County ballot though he'd refused to certify it, the proponents of the vote have appealed his ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The group pushing the measure, Our Community Our Dollars, contends the judge should have counted additional valid petition signatures beyond the number in hand when the Saline county clerk stopped counting. After invalidating some of those counted, the judge ruled the petitions fell short, but didn't consider the additional 7250 signatures. Said a release:

"These 720 Saline County residents signed the petition, voicing their opinion that they wanted the opportunity to vote on this issue in November," said Marshall Ney, attorney for Mitchell Williams, the law firm filing the appeal. "The County Clerk's office stopped counting signatures after the 25,580 threshold was met in order to avoid paying additional workers to continue to count. Regardless of that decision by the county clerk, the signatures are valid, and the 26,000-plus Saline County voters who signed the petition deserve an up or down vote on the issue."

Ney said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, owners of liquor stores in counties surrounding Saline, just want to protect their revenue, not give residents a vote.

"If residents can vote on this in November, it will be an opportunity for Saline County voters to keep tax dollars from alcohol sales in their own county and not fund surrounding counties' coffers. The more tax revenue Saline County ultimately receives, the better equipped it is to fund key services and amenities, such as police, fire, EMS, roads and parks.

"We look forward to hearing the Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling on this and are hopeful that Saline County residents will finally get a say in whether their county is wet or dry."

Walmart and Kum & Go are the major financial backers of the drive.

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