London residents vote in favor alcohol sales within city limits
January 28, 2016 Share

London residents vote in favor alcohol sales within city limits

London will be wet.

Registered voters within the city limits took to the polls Tuesday to answer one simple question: “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city limits of London, Kentucky?” The result was a resounding “yes.”

 The official total shows that 1,105 voters were for the measure to allow package alcohol sales within the city, while 771 were against it. Nine precincts were included in the election, though Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson said he wasn’t sure of exactly how many or what percentage of the counties voters were represented.

Johnson also said he couldn’t comment on voter turnout due to the lack of information.

There were 1,876 individuals who showed up to cast their ballot in Tuesday’s election, only 109 more than the last time this issue made its way to the ballot in March 2012. In that election, the “no” votes took the majority with a tally of 958 to 801.

Though turnout was only marginally better than the last time voters weighed in on the issue, the numbers were obviously heavily swayed a different direction. One of the biggest differences between the two votes, however, was the effort of the pro-wet group “Yes for London” and their campaign to persuade voters to vote in favor of alcohol sales.

Jennifer Tyler, representative for the group, attended a number of the city’s committee and commission meetings, where she asked each one for their support. London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce, Downtown London, London-Laurel Tourism, London City Council and London Tourism all voted to endorse “Yes for London” in the months leading up to the vote.

Chris Robinson, executive director of the London Tourism Commission, was at the Laurel County Courthouse as results came in, and was pleased to learn that London voters had chosen to make London a wet town.

“We’re thankful for the outcome and that we can keep London competitive with surrounding communities,” said Robinson. “We’re surprised. We knew it would be close and we knew the weather would play a factor either way, but it’s nearly the same amount of people who voted in the last election, so it’s not that a lot of people stayed in, it’s that people voted differently…or that different people voted.”

According to Johnson, there wasn’t much in the way of problems throughout the day’s voting. He said there were three minor incidents reported. Of those incidents, one involved a machine with a missing ballot, one involved a machine missing a signature flap and the other concerned an insufficient address.

Deputy clerks also made short work of the ballots as they rolled in. Polls closed at 6 p.m. and by 6:39 p.m. all the votes had been tallied and, within a few more minutes, were all verified.

The London City Council will now be tasked with moving forward with the outcome and creating an ordinance for package alcohol sales. The rest will be established through the state government.

Timothy Wyatt/ CNHI News Service
Wyatt writes for The Times-Tribune in Corbin.