An election to determine whether alcohol can legally be sold in Graham will likely happen this November. Since June 23, Texas Petition Strategies has campaigned for signatures all over the city and beyond to introduce a ballot initiative allowing for the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores.
The effort is also led locally by Grahamite Mike Elmore and his political action committee Graham Wet...It's Time. Elmore led a similar PAC in 2012 called Graham Wet, and while that petition succeeded in initiating an election, the ballot initiative was voted down, and Elmore said that was largely because liquor was included.
This year, TPS and Graham Wet canvassed eligible voters within Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, an area that has 3,175 voters as of 2010. According to the Young County Election Administrator's office, Graham Wet needed 35 percent of that number, or 1,111 valid signatures within that precinct to begin election proceedings. As of Thursday afternoon, John Hatch, co-owner of TPS, confirmed that they did have enough signatures.
A press release from Graham Wet also came through the Graham Leader's offices the same day. Under the headline “Young County Group Gathers over 1,200 Signatures to Call November Election,” the press release states that the PAC collected the requisite number of signatures in 19 days.
On Thursday afternoon, Mike Elmore went to the Young County Courthouse to turn in 1,260 signatures, but Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan was out of her office at a conference until Friday morning, July 11, the deadline for Graham Wet to turn in its petition. Elmore said he planned to return to the courthouse Friday morning at 8:30 when the office re-opened.
Sullivan said that it should take about a week to verify each signature on the petition. Provided the petition is deemed valid, the Young County Commissioners Court will make an agenda item to order a November election on August 11, the earliest date it can legally be ordered.
Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.