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Turnout low as early voting ends on liquor referendum
Fewer than 11 percent of Holmes County’s 11,249 eligible voters had cast their ballots when early voting ended for the alcohol referendum at 4 p.m. Monday. The referendum asks voters to decide whether to change the current ordinance, which allows sales of alcohol over 6.243 percent alcohol by volume by the package only.
If passed, the measure will allow restaurants that derive more than 51 percent of revenue from food sales and have available seating for 150 or more in at least 2,500 square ft. to obtain a license to sell beer, wine, and liquor for consumption on premise. The Holmes County Elections Office reports just 1211 early voters, a turnout of about 10.77 percent.
Washington County in January saw a turnout of just over 30 percent for a similar issue, except that referendum changed the county’s status as one of the state’s three remaining “dry” counties to a “wet” status.
Holmes County’s referendum election will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 28. Voters will vote at their regular precinct and after providing a photo I.D.
The state’s two remaining dry counties are Lafayette and Liberty. The counties – which are largely comprised of undevelopable, public lands – rank 66th and 67th respectively in population with each having fewer than 9,000 residents.
Holmes County has the 55th largest population in the state with the 2020 census showing a population of 19,530.