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Unofficial results: Pigeon Forge liquor vote passes

10:43 PM, Mar 14, 2013   |    comments
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Glass of LNO margarita

Unofficial election totals show the liquor by the drink referendum in Pigeon Forge passed by more than 150 votes.

Vote break down:

Total:

  • 952 votes for
  • 798 votes against

Absentee:

  • 17 votes for
  • 25 votes against

Early voting:

  • 581 votes for
  • 411 votes against

The election commission will certify results on March 21st.

The group that lobbied for liquor, Forging Ahead, celebrated their victory Thursday night.

They said this helps them to be able to compete with their neighbors who already serve liquor in Sevierville and Gatlinburg.

"It leveled the playing field for us. It means tax dollars for our city. And more importantly, more tax dollars for our schools. Better schools make better communities," Ken Maples with Forging Ahead said.

The liquor by the drink measure narrowly passed in November, but a judge threw out the results because 300 non-residents were allowed to vote.

This election had a lot of eyes on it to make sure it went smoothly.

The Sevier County Election Commission invited Secretary of State, Tre Hargett, and State Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins to the polling site.

Hargett said they weren't there because of the controversy. He said they came because it was the only election going on in the state Thursday.

"What we want to make sure of is that just like everywhere in the state, we want every vote to count once. No more, no less. I believe the election officials here have done everything they can to be as prepared as they can be," Hargett said.

Officials say they had no problems at the polling site.

Election Commissioner, JB Matthews said he considered it a good turnout for a single issue vote with 1,700 voters casting a ballot. 2,300 people voted in the November election.

The group who fought against the referendum, the Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge said they were unhappy with the results.

CCCPF filed the lawsuit on the first election and they said they will consider filing again.

"We're disappointed. A lot of people worked hard. But we'll meet with our council and group and making a decision. Whatever it is it will be unanimous," said Jess Davis of Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge.

Since the measure passed in November, 11 restaurants in Pigeon Forge have obtained licenses to serve liquor. According to city officials, restaurants reported nearly $17,000 more in tax returns during December 2012 to January 2013 than they did during the same period a year earlier.

 

 

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