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Absentee voting open for Sunday alcohol sales referendum

Absentee voting is now open for the special municipal election on Sunday alcohol sales, and has been since the election was called according to city clerk Alton Starling.

“That’s not typical,” Starling said. “Typically, an election would have qualifying in July and then two weeks later that closes and I have to order the ballots. Absentee voting opens as soon as I get the ballots in. In this case, when the notice of election was put out, I already knew what would be on the ballots so I had already ordered them, so people could start voting immediately for this municipal election.”

Residents can request an absentee ballot until October 5 and can hand in a ballot as late as October 9.­

There are several reasons that a resident can vote absentee:

  • The person will be out of the county or the state on Election Day.
  • The person has any physical illness or infirmity which prevents his attendance at the polls.
  • The person is unable to access their assigned polling place due to a neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory (including speech organs) cardiovascular or other life-altering disorder that affects their ability to perform manual tasks, stand for any length of time, walk unassisted, see, hear, or speak AND: (a) they are an elderly voter aged 65 or older OR (b) they are a voter with a disability.
  • The person works a shift which has at least ten (10) hours that coincide with the polling hours at their regular polling place.
  • The person is enrolled as a student at an educational institution located outside the county of their personal residence, attendance at which prevents their attendance at the polls.
  • The person is a member of, or spouse or dependent of a member of, the Armed Forces of the United States or is otherwise similarly qualified to vote absentee pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
  • The person has been appointed as an election officer at a polling place which is not their regular polling place.

The election will be held Tuesday, October 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will only have one item on the ballot regarding Sunday alcohol sales. Residents will be able to vote in favor or opposition to the city allowing all alcohol sales on Sunday after noon.

The city council could further limit the allowance by local ordinance if the referendum is approved but would need to go back to the State Legislature to expand sales to before noon.