College students could impact outcome of referendum

Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2017

Not all Troy University students are old enough to drink, but most are old enough to vote, and city clerk Alton Starling says any student registered to vote in Pike County with a Troy address can participate in this election.

There is one other stipulation: the student must have established the Troy residence 30 days prior to the election.

A sample of Troy students gave their opinions on the issue earlier this week.

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“I am a supporter of Sunday sales because of the economic growth it could have for the area. I think we can all agree that a Buffalo Wild Wings would be nice to have in town, but such a company would not choose Troy if people cannot watch their favorite NFL team and order a beer Sunday afternoon. Not only would this be big for companies moving into Troy, but also for existing businesses such as Santa Fe, Rodeo, Monarcas and others.”

Carter Ray, a Troy native that attends Troy University, said Sunday alcohol sales shouldn’t be needed to recruit businesses.

“Our restaurants in Troy will continue to do good business on Sundays, regardless if Sunday sales are allowed or not,” Ray said. “There has been speculation that certain restaurants are not coming to Troy until the referendum passes. If you ask me, I think these businesses are crazy if they don’t come to Troy anyways. Places like these would do good business in a college town regardless of whether we allow Sunday sales.”

Student Sarah Jones of Birmingham said she has seen the success of similar legislation passed in Birmingham.

“It has allowed for more economic growth in this area and businesses that sell alcohol are getting more customers for lunch and dinner on Sundays,” Jones said. “Troy would be able to experience the same growth and more restaurants that sell alcohol would possibly look at opening up a location in Troy.”

Taylor Elaine Godwin said she has seen examples of lost revenue during her time in Troy.

“So many people I know go to the Montgomery line or out of town to buy alcohol on Sunday,” Godwin said. “All of that revenue is going elsewhere when it could benefit us locally instead.”

College students could play a key role in the election if they turn out to vote – the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the total population of Troy to be approximately 20,000, including college students. Troy University estimates that 8,000 students attend the main campus.

It remains to be seen whether students with residences in Troy – whether a dorm on campus or an off-campus house or apartment – have registered to vote locally as opposed to their varying hometowns, if registered to vote at all.

In a divisive and controversial referendum, it could be the deciding factor.

The election will be held Tuesday, October 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Photo IDs will be required. Only Troy residents will be allowed to participate in the referendum.