A flurry of late activity in support of a countywide wet vote drove a petition effort over the finish line Tuesday afternoon with room to spare.

Organizers supporting a wet-dry vote on the November ballot for Scott County voters delivered their petition to the Scott County Clerk’s office between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Tuesday, county election coordinator Amber Hoffman said.

“They needed 5,528 signatures, and turned in 6,236, so they are about 700 over,” Hoffman said. “They brought in about 77 pages.”

One of the petition organizers, C.J. May, was thrilled to have reached the group’s goal.

“We came on strong at the end and had a lot of people working on it. I think we got a substantial cushion, which is a good thing,” he said. “It was a joint effort and we look forward to getting it on the ballot and letting the people decide.”

County Clerk Rebecca Johnson said her office will now begin the process of verifying the signatures by checking the names, residential address, date of birth and when the petition was signed.

“We anticipate the verification process will take a week or so. We have to shuffle our staff to conduct regular business while checking the petition as quickly as possible,” she said. “They met the deadline, and we will verify the signatures in the timelines we need to follow to get the ballots printed in time.”

She said they have until Sept. 16 to print the regular and absentee ballots, and she thinks they have ample time to meet those parameters. Once they have verified if the petition was successful or not, that information will be given to County Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington to put it on the ballot.

The Scott Countians for Economic Development Facebook page kept a running tab on the progress to getting the required number of signatures. On Friday, they were about 1,000 short, and Tuesday, they were still a few hundred away.

“It always comes down to the end,” May said. “It’s like the day before a tenant opens, I’m always out cleaning the parking lot.”

Other organizers in support of the petition were Michael Blowen at Old Friends, Daniel Harrison at Country Boy Brewing, the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism office among other locations throughout the county.

Their hope is to balance the playing field for businesses outside Georgetown to sell alcohol, particularly restaurants in dry parts of the county which are competing with nearby restaurants which can sell alcohol because of where they are located.

“You can stand in Josie’s parking lot and see where liquor can be sold,” said May, who owns the property Josie’s is located. “We had signatures from throughout the county…Sadieville, Stamping Ground and Georgetown all

were represented.”

He also knows that their work is just starting.

“We will start getting together and talk about where we go from here. I think people need to understand the pros and cons and the benefits outweigh the risks,” May said. “I’m convinced the benefits are much greater than the risks, and won’t change the culture in a negative way. We’ll need to educate voters the best we can. We still have some work to do.”

Steve McClain can be reached at smcclain@news-graphic.com.

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