One more time

Pigeon Forge voters deciding liquor by the drink again
Mar. 14, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

One polling place. One jurisdiction. One question on the ballot. Elections don’t get much more straightforward than the one taking place today.

Pigeon Forge residents and property owners are voting — again — on whether to legalize liquor by the drink.

Voting takes place at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Because of polling irregularities, a judge voided the Nov. 6 referendum that legalized liquor by the drink. Deputy election commissioner Ed Kuncitis doesn’t anticipate problems this time.

The November election “involved the county along with the city, so two different types of voters reported to that polling place,” Kuncitis said. “This time, all the information at the polling place will be strictly for city residences.”

Even so, “We’ve done extra training,” Kuncitis said. “It’s just the one question, and it’s pretty simple. If [voters] have any issues, they can call our office, and it will be taken care of quickly. We’ll figure it out.”

In early voting on the measure, 1,036 ballots were cast, including absentee and nursing home ballots. “We thought we might be heavier during early voting,” Kuncitis said.

Among registered Pigeon Forge voters, there are 3,862 residents and 387 property owners. Some of those registrations are inactive. In the Nov. 6 election, 2,364 ballots were cast, with a 100 vote difference in the results.

Opponents of liquor by the drink cite safety concerns and believe it would harm the city’s reputation as a family-friendly tourist destination. Proponents say liquor would be good for business, and they tout the extra tax revenues for schools and city government.

Pigeon Forge voters have cast ballots on the liquor issue four times since 2009.

Said Kuncitis, “We’re ready to go and anxious to be over it, finally.”

kburns@themountainpress.com