A total of 5,294 voters cast ballots in the special option election – 2,665 for, 2,629 against. Results were presented to the public Tuesday night in the district courtroom in the new Trigg County Justice Center.
Voter turnout ended up being 51 percent of 10,339 registered voters, less than Trigg County Clerk Wanda Thomas’ initial projection of 55 percent last Tuesday and updated prediction of 59 percent later in the week.
The vote couldn’t have been much closer. Of the 14 voting precincts in the county, seven voted “yes” and seven voted “no.” Absentee voters to mailed in their ballots voted against, while absentee voters at the courthouse voted in favor.
Ken Culwell, president of Grow Trigg, the group that initiated a petition to force the vote, said he expected a wider margin but that he was happy with the outcome nonetheless. He said Grow Trigg’s next course of action is to assist Judge-Executive Stan Humphries, County Attorney H.B. Quinn and county magistrates in drafting the alcohol ordinances that will govern alcohol sales in the county.
“Today opens up a lot of new avenues,” Culwell said after the results were announced. “We wanted to win, but we weren’t positive. Tomorrow, we’ll start by picking up signs so it’s not a mess.”
Culwell said timing and Grow Trigg’s dedication to staying positive were likely factors in the result of the voting.
“I think the ‘outsiders’ finally outnumbered the other guys,” Culwell said. “We were low-key and as positive as we could be all the time. We didn’t take shots or snipe, and I think that really made the difference.”
Bob McIntosh, chairman of Trigg Citizens Against Alcohol, said he is disappointed in the results but respects Thomas and the clerk’s office and Trigg County voters, and went on to say that the election results were honest and “fair and square,” so the group will not seek a recount.
“We have a good county clerk,” McIntosh said.
Their meeting earlier this week, McIntosh said, was their final one, and now they’re going to “get back to the business of ministering and promoting God’s love.”
McIntosh, who pastors Rocky Ridge Baptist Church, said he stands by his and the group’s belief that alcohol is harmful to society, and said they have statistics that demonstrate that.
However, “We’ve got people to minister to and a county to grow,” McIntosh said.
Humphries said he hopes members of the community will work toward repairing whatever damage has been done by the divisiveness of this issue.
“We live in a great community, and that’s evidenced by our caring and sharing and giving,” Humphries said. “People were emotional and passionate about this and shared differing opinions. [Wednesday] morning, we need to begin the process of healing. Things have been said and done in the last few months that we would not have liked to seen take place.”
Humphries said precincts that want the chance to vote themselves back to dry status must register a petition with signatures totaling at least 25 percent of that precinct’s voting population.
(Cadiz Record reporter Franklin Clark contributed to this story.)