HED: Union County may find liquor on spring ballot

HED: Union County may find liquor on spring ballot

Union County may find liquor on spring ballot

By LaRaye Brown

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Prohibition was repealed 63 years ago this week. But Union Countians may have to wait until spring to vote on legalizing liquor in their county.

Supporters say they have gathered enough petition signatures to force an election. But if the petition were presented to the Union County Board of Supervisors now, state law mandates there would have to be an election within 60 days.

“If we did it now, (the board) would call a special election,” said Sean Johnson, who organized the petition.

Those who quietly support making Union County wet may not vote for fear of being identified as a liquor supporter by the opposition, Johnson said.

“We feel that by waiting for another election we could forgo any demonstration or harassment by the opposition,” Johnson said. He added waiting until the mayoral election in May will ensure a higher turnout.

Concerned Citizens for a Dry County plans to fight the legalization of liquor with $1,400 raised at its first meeting, said Rev. James M. Lewis of New Albany’s First Baptist Church.

Lewis organized the group of more than 200 people representing 44 churches. The group is researching alcohol statistics and contacting other churches to prepare for an advertising campaign that will begin when the liquor petition is presented to the board of supervisors, Lewis said.

Lewis said his organization doesn’t plan to harass anyone.

“We’re addressing an issue, not trying to attack people, whether it be drinkers or liquor store owners,” Lewis said.

In October, Johnson, the publisher of the Daily Planet, organized the petition drive seeking the 1,500 signatures necessary to get the liquor issue on the ballot.