Haywood

Voters unsure about wording on county alcohol vote

Voters unsure about wording on county alcohol vote

Perhaps it’s because Haywood County residents haven’t seen such a measure since the Truman administration, but the wording on the county’s alcohol sales referenda has left many voters confused as to what, exactly, they’re being asked.

There are two categories of alcoholic beverages being discussed; one is malt beverages, the other, unfortified wine. Malt beverages are understood to be beer in most cases, and unfortified wine is fruit-based wine with less than 16 percent alcohol. 

Neither of these questions concerns spirits or hard liquor. 

Additionally, there are two categories of sales — on-premises, and off-premises. On-premises sales means beverages are meant to be consumed where they’re bought, like at a restaurant. Off-premises sales means beverages are not meant to be consumed where they’re bought, like at a convenience store.

For malt beverages, the ballot contains two questions. The first is whether to permit the off-premises sale thereof, and the second is whether to permit the on-premises sale (by Class A hotels, motels and restaurants only) as well as off-premises sales. 

Voters who want beer available at places like convenience stores but not at restaurants and the like should vote “for” off-premises sales and “against” on-premises sales on the malt beverage question. 

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Voters who want beer available at both convenience stores and restaurants should vote “for” on both. 

Voters who want beer available only at restaurants, hotels and motels but not convenience stores are out of luck. 

And of course, voters who don’t want to see any change in the scope of current beer sales should vote “against” for both questions. 

A close look at the above questions indicates a fair degree of overlap in their purview; if the second question — on-premises and off-premises sales — receives the most votes, the results of the first question about off-premises only sales won’t really matter, as such off-premises sales will be permitted due to the less-restrictive nature of the second question. 

For unfortified wine, the ballot contains three questions. The first is whether to permit both the off-premises and on-premises sale thereof, the second is whether to permit on-premises sale only, and the third is whether to permit the off-premises sale only.   

Voters who want wine available at both convenience stores and restaurants should vote “for” on all three questions. 

Voters who want beer available only at restaurants, hotels and motels but not convenience stores should vote “against” on the first question, “for” on the second, and “against” on the third. 

Voters who want wine available at places like convenience stores but not at restaurants and the like should vote “against” on the first question, “against” the second, and “for” on the third. 

Again, voters who don’t want to see any change in the scope of current wine sales should vote “against” on all three questions.

And as with beer, there is also some overlap in the three questions pertaining to wine. If the first question — on-premises and off-premises sales — receives the most votes, the results of the next two questions about off-premises only and on-premises only sales won’t really matter, as both types of sales will be permitted due to the less-restrictive nature of the first question. 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 26/10/2016

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