Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment falls short on signatures

The proposal to allow alcohol sales in every county in Arkansas has 30 days to get more than 17,000 verified signatures in order to be placed on the November general election ballot. Organizers of the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment are certain that they will get the signatures needed to advance. David Couch, attorney of Let Arkansas Decide, said he is confident that they will be able to turn in more verified signatures than needed, two weeks earlier than the August 16 deadline. "We really didn't start our (initial) effort until the third of June. From the June 3rd until July 7th we collected 85,000 signatures, 61,000 of which were valid," said Couch,."We have now...another 30 days. So 17,000 signatures is kind of a week's work." Couch said becoming wet counties would economically benefit counties that are now dry. The University of Arkansas published a study supporting the economic growth of dry counties becoming wet. The study stated if Craighead County, Saline County, and Faulkner County were wet counties they would each have more than an estimated $20 million in alcohol sales in each county. Jerry Cox, president of Family council, doesn't believe the economic benefit is enough reason. Cox said people's rights are what is at stake. "It affects those communities where people said 'you know I like living in a community that doesn't sell alcohol. I like living in a community that doesn't have bars,'" Cox said. " That should be their prerogative to let them do that. What this does, it up ends that whole process." If the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment organizers are successful in getting enough verified signatures, they will make the November 5th ballot.