By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
While Tuesday’s election focused mainly on the Marriage Amendment and choosing which candidates will represent their parties in November, voters in more than a dozen Tar Heel locations got to weigh in on alcohol sales.
In North Carolina’s westernmost corner, Cherokee County voters rejected malt beverage and unfortified wine sales, 51 to 49 percent. In a similarly close vote, residents in the Pitt County town of Ayden, much further east, said no to mixed beverage sales by less than 1 percent — 10 voters to be exact.
But the close-vote-of-the-day award must go to Deep River Township in central North Carolina’s Lee County, where malt beverage sales were kept at bay by one lone vote: 307 for malt beverages; 308 against.
“This just goes to show how important every single vote is. We are thrilled to see these areas take a stand to keep alcohol sales from popping up on virtually every corner,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We’re glad to see the local option system at work letting folks determine how alcohol is managed in their communities.”
Deep River rejected unfortified wine sales as well, by a six-vote margin. Nearby Pocket Township, also in Lee County, voted roughly 55 to 45 percent against beer and wine sales. But the sales were approved (52 percent to 48 percent) in East and West Sanford townships and in Greenwood Township. Some 61 percent of Cape Fear Township voters also welcomed beer and wine sales as did 56 percent of the voters in Jonesboro Township.
Next door to Lee County, voters in the Harnett townships of Buckhorn and Hector’s Creek voted by a similar margin to allow malt beverage and wine sales within their borders.
The products will also soon be sold in the Burke County town of Hildebran, where sales were approved 54 to 46 percent.
Further west in Jackson County, voters OK’d malt beverage and wine sales, an ABC store and liquor by the drink, with 56 to 59 percent in agreement.
Perhaps the most complex alcohol ballot on Tuesday was handed out in Henderson County, where voters could entertain nine different sales options. They chose on- and off-premise sales of malt beverages and wine, malt beverage on-premise sales by hotels, motels and restaurants only, off premises sales by other permittees, and gave a more hearty approval (67 to 68 percent) to an ABC store and mixed beverage sales.
It was by the same margin, 68 percent, that voters in the Moore County township of Sheffield rejected malt beverage sales.
“So often, when there is a push to approve more alcohol sales, people think it is inevitable and they fail to take action. Although many towns have approved more sales this week, votes like the one in Moore County show that it doesn’t have to be that way,” Creech said. “In North Carolina, voters do have a voice in these matters.”