From the Desk of

J. Michael Cross County Executive

     When Fentress County Citizens go to the polls this November, they will be faced with the decision to vote for or against a “Liquor Referendum” for the county. Several Fentress County citizens exercised their constitutional right as outlined by the Tennessee State Constitution to get the referendum placed on the ballet. Using a local attorney to get the proper wording, these citizens were required, by law, to obtain signatures equaling 10% of the voter turnout for the 2014 Governor’s race. In 2014, 3,239 Fentress County registered voters cast a vote in the Governor’s race. To qualify under state law, they were required to get signatures from 324 registered county voters. 378 signatures were turned in to the Fentress County Election Commission.

     The deadline to turn in pending referendum signatures as outlined by the Tennessee State Constitution was Thursday, August 25 at 4:00 p.m. Upon receiving the petition, Joey Williams, Fentress County Elections Administrator, informed the Fentress County Elections Commission and called for a special meeting to verify signatures appearing on the petition. During their analysis, the Fentress County Election Commission disqualified 32 signatures, leaving 346 verified signatures, comfortably surpassing the 324 minimum number required by state law. These signatures were sent to the Tennessee State Election Commission where they were certified at or before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 29, 2016. At that time, the “Liquor Referendum” was officially placed on the ballet for Fentress County voters.

     With this referendum in place, we expect the voter turnout to be the highest in Fentress County history for an “Off-Term” election year. We encourage everyone to exercise their constitutional right to vote. It is your right and responsibility to express your opinion in the democratic process. A local attorney termed this to be “pure democracy at work”.

     Early voting begins on Wednesday, October 19 and continues through Thursday, November 3, 2016. And remember, Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The wording on the referendum is whether to permit, or not permit, alcoholic beverage sales in retail package stores. This includes liquor, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

     One last clarification, the Fentress County Commission nor any part of Fentress County Government were involved or active in getting this referendum certified. Both the United States Constitution and the Tennessee State Constitution provide vehicles through which the citizenry can not only express themselves, but actively involve themselves in the policy making procedures at the local, state and national levels.

     We can be reached at 879-7713. Executive Assistant Amanda Hicks can also be reached at ten.s1534673573ekalw1534673573t@skc1534673573ihadn1534673573ama1534673573. County Commission meetings are held every third Monday at 6:00 p.m. following a 5:00 o’clock work session. All meetings are open to the public.