By P.J. Tracy
MURFREESBORO – The attempt to place an alcohol referendum for Pike County on the upcoming general election in November has ground to a halt.
The Pike County Improvement Committee officially ceased operations last week in its attempt to obtain 1,959 signed petitions, which is 38% of the 5,154 registered voters in Pike County as of the June 2019 certification process by the Pike County Clerk.
Citing the prohibitions of the COVID-19 pandemic as the major reason for the halt, committee spokesman Jack Bonds said the group simply got too late a start in 2020 to gather the required petitions.
“At this point the only way we could accomplish the goal is to go door to door, and with COVID that’s simply not responsible,” Bonds said.
In the last few weeks the group made a push via drive-through sign-ups across the county, but the Aug. 5 deadline to turn the petitions in to Pike County Clerk Randee Reid loomed too close.
“It was a long shot [at this point], but we were all willing to try,” Bonds said of the committee.
The group had previously said the idea was born from the attempt to expand the economy in
the predominately tourist based economy of the county.
“With the importance of tourism on our county — in both ends of the county, Glenwood and Murfreesboro — an upbeat economy will benefit us all,” Bonds said a month ago.
Having failed to gain a spot on the 2020 general election ballot, it is likely any effort to try again will have to wait until 2022, unless the group is willing to pay for a special election next year.
Bonds said the committee thanked all the hard-working volunteers who helped the group get nearly a quarter of the number of petitions needed to qualify for the ballot.
In addition, the group thanked all who signed a petition and assured all the participants that the petitions would be properly destroyed and no record of signees would be kept.
“We plan to attempt this again in the future when we are not in pandemic mode,” Bonds said.