The push to have liquor stores in McMinnville has gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.
“They got 238 signatures and they just needed 228 so they left themselves some wiggle room,” said director of elections Donna Smith of the petition drive to put package liquor on the city ballot Nov. 8. “This will not be official until Sept. 6 when the ballot is officially set, but barring something unforeseen, the voters in McMinnville will be voting on liquor this November.”
The question of legal liquor has made it further than it did in 2012 and 2014 when proponents were unable to raise the number of signatures it would take to put the question on the ballot.
Legal liquor was last voted on in 2010 and failed by a count of 1,556 to 1,356 in the closest ever vote on the question. Liquor by the drink passed in 2002 after several defeats in the years before.
All of Warren County’s neighbors presently have liquor stores. The counties permitting package liquor sales that border the Nursery Capital now include Coffee, DeKalb, White, Grundy, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Cannon. Both DeKalb and White counties ratified package liquor sales in 2014. Sparta opened its first liquor stores earlier this year.
Should the measure pass in November, liquor could only be sold within McMinnville city limits and at a limited number of stores, the number set by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. When the question is asked in November, only registered McMinnville city voters will get a chance to cast their ballots on the question, with one minor exception.
“If you own land in the city of McMinnville and are registered to vote on that land, even if you don’t actually live in the city limits, you will be allowed to vote in the city election,” Smith said.
Smith said she is still waiting for proponents of wine in grocery stores to contact her. The question is a separate question from legal package liquor.