Almost 300 votes still in question

Only 14 votes out of 303 accounted for so far
Dec. 15, 2012 @ 12:10 AM

Updated voting records from the liquor by the drink referendum indicate election officials have accounted for 14 of the 303 votes raised as an issue in the liquor by the drink referendum.

The documents, released after a written request from The Mountain Press, show the list of confirmed residents who voted in the election now stands at 1,903 total votes — up from 1,890 when the commission certified the vote Nov. 19. The updated list is dated Dec. 4. The tally of confirmed property owners who voted in the election is 172, an increase of 1 from the date of certification. That number, from a list dated Dec. 7, means that election officials apparently cannot confirm that 289 votes that were cast in the election came from eligible voters.

The election commission received some formal complaints from voters who said the referendum appeared on their ballot when it should not have. They said they live outside the city and own no property in the city but vote at the Pigeon Forge polling place in the general election. The commission also received complaints from people who said they live in the city but weren’t allowed to vote. Officials have said it was possible the referendum was added to or left off the ballot mistakenly in some instances.

In the Nov. 6 election, voters appeared to approve the measure by a vote of 1,232 to 1,132. However, Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge, the group that opposed the sale of liquor by the drink, has filed a contest of election based on the 303 votes

Attorneys took depositions in that case this week. It is not yet clear when the trial will take place.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com