HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It wasn’t just presidential politics that drove voters to the polls Tuesday. Four North Alabama towns faced the question of legal alcohol sales. Hartselle, in fact, is Alabama’s largest dry city and keeping it that way was an emotional issue for many voters. Although Hartselle defeated the referendum by a comfortable margin, what lies ahead? Will it be back on the ballot again?
“Yes,” according to to Bob Francis, of Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development. “You just can’t help but observe the communities around you and the fact that they are realizing the benefits of legalized sales,” he says.
Francis says former local elected officials tell him the biggest challenge facing the city, “…Is going to be to recruit enough retail sales to provide the continued services that Hartselle citizens have been accostomed to and need.”
But Hartselle voters turned out in record numbers Tuesday and defeated the wet-dry referendum for the third time in ten years. However, Francis says even before the votes were being counted, his group had already decided they will bring the proposal up again.
In defeat, Francis says, “We are celebrating the beginning of the 2014 campaign.”
2014 would be the soonest the wet-dry referendum could appear again on ballots in Hartselle.