Graham beer, wine sales added to November ballot

After a two-year lapse, the topic of alcohol has made its way onto the ballot again after a resolution was passed by Graham City Council Thursday placing the sale of beer and wine on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Beer, wine and liquor sales have been an object of much debate in the past, in Graham and throughout county Precinct 1. The item was placed on the November ballot after a local petition was filed by Graham residents and the company Texas Petition Strategies, according to Sharon McFadden, city secretary and finance director.
“I received the request in June from (Texas Petition Strategies) out of Austin, that they wanted to issue the petitions, so we issued them to them and they brought them back around July 11 and we went through and verified all of them,” said McFadden. “There were 985 (signatures) that they actually provided and verified, although only 895 were actually required.”
Petition law
The Texas Election Code Sec. 501 states that if 10 or more qualified voters of any county, justice precinct or municipality file a written application and prove publication of notice in a newspaper in that political subdivision, the county clerk will issue the applicants a petition to be circulated among qualified voters of that political subdivision.
The petitioners only have 60 days after they get their petitions granted to get them filled out by actual qualified voters in the area to be affected. After that, they file the petitions with the municipality, which has to order an election on the matter within 30 days.
According to the owner of Texas Petition Strategies, John Hatch, the company was involved in the 2012 and 2014 alcohol votes, for Graham and JP1, respectively. Neither attempt was successful. Hatch said his company and those in Graham who favor alcohol sales were waiting for a presidential election date in order to take advantage of its higher voter turnout and longer voting hours.
“The bottom line is, when your voting hours that are only 8 to 5, well, it’s hard for working people to get off work to go vote and so that is why most communities either have extended (voting) hours or they have voting on the weekend, and we had none of that,” Hatch said. “Now we will, because it’s a presidential election and they are required by law to have it, and so we figure with the higher turnout and extended hours for voting, we will have a better chance of passage this time.”

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