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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wet/Dry Issue misses deadline

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(Photo)
After two years of volunteering her time to collect over 5,000 signatures to get the wet/dry issue on the ballot for the 2010 General Election, Ruth Reynolds is undoubtedly disappointed after discovering Aug. 12 the group Save Energy Reap Taxes (SERT) had missed the filing deadline.

Jerry Adams, a spokesperson for SERT said unbeknownst to the group or Sharp County Clerk Tommy Estes a new law was passed in 2009 which changed the filing dates.

Tonya Powell, election coordinator with the Sharp  County Clerk's office said on Aug. 11, the office received a fax from Batesville Attorney David Blair informing them of an ammendment in 2009 for petitions for initiated county measures.

Blair's fax indicated that the filing deadline was 90 days prior to the election, rather than 60, as was the case before the amendment. The clerk's office was not aware of the change in the filing procedure. Powell explained it was not the responsibility of the clerk's office to be aware of filing deadlines, but the responsibility was placed on the person or group filing the perspective petition.

The fax was also sent to county attorney Larry Kissee and Yota Shaw, who was formerly on the dry side of the issue during the 2008 attempt to get the issue on the ballot.

Powell indicated that the new law changed filing deadlines from 120 days being the earliest to file a petition to 90 days before the election being the latest.

Kissee then contacted Reynolds regarding the issue. Kissee's comments were reflected in a letter to Estes dated Aug. 12, stating, "I receive a letter from Mr. David Blair yesterday which inquired of me what steps will, or will not, be taken should any out-of-time initiative petitions be tendered to your office. I have reviewed Ark. Code. Ann.. 12-12-915 (b)(1) which was amended by Act 1480 of 2009. This code provision provides that initiative petitions can only be filed "not less than 90 calendar days and not more than 120 calendar days prior to the date established for the next regular election," Therefore, I am of the opinion that by the plain wording of this code provision your office cannot accept any initiative petition tentered to you after Aug. 4, 2010."

SERT representative Jerry Adams said the group took the petition to the clerk's office on Aug. 12, but it is still unclear if it will be on the ballot. Adams said, "It is ridiculous, all we want to do is to be able to vote."

Powell said, "As far as I know, it is over, they will have to start over collecting signatures because the petition says it was for the 2010 General Election."

Sharp County has been a dry county since 1946. In 2008, the issue did not get on the ballot when it fell short 210 signatures after Circuit Judge Phil Smith declared 461 signatures on the petitions were not valid. Reynolds said she has a 2010 booklet that still states the deadline as 90 days at the earliest and 60 days at the latest.

Reynolds has been instrumental in collecting over 5,000 signatures. Only 4,634 signatures from voters registered in the county were required to get the initiative on the ballot.


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absolute b/s for this poor woman who has given her all...come on Sharp county we are all adults here..time for the taxpayers to have some say here!!!!

-- Posted by keborne on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:29 PM

Poor Ruth! Fouled out on a technicality again (to completely mix and gravy sports metaphors).

-- Posted by ruralmom on Thu, Aug 26, 2010, at 3:14 PM

One of the reason's people moved here was to get away from drinker's.If people don't like having a dry county should move!

-- Posted by davidgeorg7 on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 1:31 AM

booze is available just 16 miles away but the right to vote should be available where i live. i served in the military to keep that right and i don,t appreciate some political hero taking it from me.

-- Posted by nagle5 on Fri, Aug 27, 2010, at 5:45 AM

I knew they would find some way that it would not be on the ballot and here you go.. One way or another they would have found something to keep it off just as before, so people of the area have no voice weather you want it or not. We all pay our taxes and have the right to voice our opinion on things that we may or may not want, all in all nobody cares if some people want it or not the people that make the choices without us in our best interest is what they think anyways!!!

But when we don't have a voice anymore that means we don't have our rights anymore because some people think it's a bad idea and they don't want to address the issue so sweep it under the rug and don't worry about it.. :(

-- Posted by Mom_of_3boys on Mon, Aug 30, 2010, at 12:36 PM

Seems to me if the county clerk wasn`t aware of this he or she wasn`t doing their job...time to vote for a new one ....maybe!!!!

-- Posted by keborne on Tue, Aug 31, 2010, at 8:03 AM

For sure a new clerk is badly needed he is sly!!!

-- Posted by Mom_of_3boys on Tue, Aug 31, 2010, at 10:34 AM

@davidgeorg7, thank you so much for your brilliant insight into why people moved to Sharp Co., as it has got to be the wettest dry county I've ever been in. What the county clerk did should be illegal, it may be, but I doubt it.

-- Posted by hogwild67 on Tue, Aug 31, 2010, at 9:07 PM


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