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Clay County alcohol sales measure (2009)

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The Clay County alcohol sales measure was on the August 18, 2009 ballot in Clay County in North Carolina.

The measure called for voters to decide to legalize alcohol beverage sales in the county. The special election is expected to cost the county $16,000, as compared to a land transfer tax referendum in 2008.[1]

Specifically, voters decided on four alcohol related issues:[2]

  • To permit the “on-premises” sale of malt beverages by Class A hotels, motels and restaurants only. To permit “off-premises” sales by other permit holders.
  • To permit the “on-premises” and “off-premises” sale of unfortified wine.
  • To permit the operation of ABC stores.
  • To permit the sale of mixed beverages in hotels, restaurants, private clubs, community theaters and convention centers.

All measures were approved.[3]

Election results

Measure Yes No
Malt beverage 2,819 (61.26%)Approveda 1,783 (38.74%)
Unfortified wine 2,818 (61.22%)Approveda 1,785 (38.78%)
ABC stores 2,714 (58.94%)Approveda 1,891 (41.06%)
Mixed beverage 2,763 (60.10%)Approveda 1,834 (39.90%)


Alcohol sales in the county were legal until 1949 when it was banned. However, in 2008 the county recorded $5,343 in revenue from beer sales, spurring the 2009 alcohol sales measure.

Ballot measure supporter Pat Margo, a member of the Coalition to Keep Tax Dollars in Clay County, said, "The whole premise behind (the alcohol sales) is to keep money here, we’re not doing this just for the alcohol. Don’t we need money for a new school? Why let our tax dollars leave when we need them, especially in times like these.”[1]


While the election drew near the scheduled August 18 date, both sides of the alcohol issue began to intensify their campaigns. Controversy began when the Coalition to Keep Tax Dollars in Clay County hung a banner over U.S. 64 Business, which chairman Pat Margo stated was done with permission from the mayor and the town administrator. However, the Department of Transportation demanded that it be taken down.

In another instance, County Manager Paul Leek and two employees took down multiple signs, some in favor and some against the alcohol vote, from an area near the buffer zone that is required for the election’s board. The signs were reposted later that day, despite the county‘s efforts.[4]

See also

External links