Some Boaz Voters to Cast Ballots in Both Etowah and Marshall Counties

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BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) -- Some Boaz voters will have to go to two different polling places if they want to vote on every race, amendment, and referendum.

The quirk is caused by the city being in two counties, Etowah and Marshall.

"Sometimes that presents a problem," mayor Tim Walker said a week before the election.

Alcohol sales are legal in Etowah, except for the part of Boaz that extends into the county.

Marshall County is dry, except for Albertville, Arab, and Guntersville, all of which passed wet-dry referendums legalizing the sale of alcohol in recent years.

Boaz residents voted no in 2010 but will vote on a referendum again next Tuesday, and the only polling location offering that ballot is at the Boaz Recreation Center.

All Boaz residents in Marshall County vote there anyway, but those in Etowah County go to the polls in the Mountainboro and New Union communities for their presidential ballots.

If they still want to vote on the wet-dry referendum, they must go to the Boaz Rec Center.

Mayor Walker wants residents to know it is not the city's decision.

"It amazes me that the state sets out for a referendum like a wet-dry that has to be within another election," Walker said.

"You have to have two separate polling sites if you are in Etowah County, because all municipal elections have to happen in the recreation center of Boaz."

That means a drive of about five miles northeast from Mountainboro, a route which goes along Highway 431 north through Sardis, which is wet as it is in Etowah and not Boaz.

In that two mile stretch between the two areas of Boaz, drivers pass three liquor stores.

Supporters of alcohol sales in Boaz look at that as revenue that could be kept in town.

However, there are yard signs throughout town from the Boaz Ministerial Association which read "Remember to do the right thing.  Vote to keep Boaz dry Nov. 6."

Walker is impartial, and said he simply hopes Boaz residents who vote for president in Etowah County will make the short trip to the recreation center to cast another vote.

"We're trying to make sure that people know that because we want people to vote their conscience, but we'd like for a large number of people to vote so we can make sure the majority is represented," Walker said.

"They need to come because it's an emotional issue that needs to be decided."

Mayor Walker said there will be signs at the Etowah County polling places to remind Boaz residents to go to the recreation center for the wet-dry referendum.