By P.J. Tracy
Following a hectic week, the Vote Pike County Wet group has acquired the number of petitions needed to qualify for the Nov. 8 general election ballot, placing the wet/dry conundrum (the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors) before the voters of Pike County.
The group and its merry band of volunteers had to quickly obtain 576 additional petitions needed after the Pike County’s Clerk’s office rejected 726 of the original 2,345 petitions submitted to them on Aug. 10.
The group then received 10 days, beginning on Saturday, Aug. 20, to resolve the issues or garner new petitions, culminating in them submitting additional 669 petitions to the clerk’s office at the deadline on Monday, August 29.
For qualification, the group had to garner a minimum of 2,168 petitions, a number that reflects 38% of the registered voters in the county. The previous minimum number of 2,195 that had been reported was based on the 2021 year’s voter roll numbers and corrected by Pike County Clerk Randee Reid by using the 2022 rolls as of June 1 when 5,704 citizens were registered to vote.
According to the clerk’s office documentation, the Vote Pike County Wet group submitted 2,239 petitions that were ultimately deemed valid in the two submissions.
The group also has registered a passel of new voters countywide in the process, including 195 since August 11.
The county clerk’s office has legally certified the measure, which had to be accomplished by Tuesday in order to comply with the the legal minimum of 70 days prior to the November 8 general election.
Jack Bonds, one of the group’s organizers, said the movement started small with just a few people, but had big dreams.
“We formed a very small committee that wanted to increase revenue for the community by encouraging our number one industry, which is tourism, thereby ultimately creating jobs for Murfreesboroians.”
He said the movement would go on to take a life of its own, garnering support from the communities countywide.
Bonds said the number of volunteers “too numerous to name” grew as the time went on, “giving of their time, energy and effort.”
“This combination of people, with the willingness to make Murfreesboro and Pike County better consummated into what we now know as the victory of getting a ballot position. Every petitioned counted toward the effort, and without the volunteers — every person that got one or two petitions — counted. Everybody that had anything to do with this effort, mattered, because when it comes right down to it, it’s about that last petition. So, thank you, one and all, for all of your efforts.”
Bonds also said that a great deal of thanks those that submitted petitions.
“For all those that took the time to fill out a petition, we are all genuinely appreciative.”
While not all the petitions they collected were valid, Bonds points out the group collected over 3,000 them, stating that roughly a third of the county was actively on board with the mission of progress, including another 100-200 registered voters that declined to sign a petition, but pledged to vote “yes” in the election.
“I have no idea how many man hours this took,” Bonds said, but noted that each petition was roughly achieved through an average of 20 minutes of work each. “If you gave me a $50,000 budget to pay the volunteers and do it again, I’d be afraid it would fall short. If you spend 12 hours in a car, knocking on doors while going down highways and dirt roads, you’ll get about 36 petitions a day. It was truly a team effort and everyone on the team mattered.”
Bonds said the group now looks forward to the election. “We will need your vote in November.”