It is now official! The City of McKee will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages within the city limits. Registered voters inside the City of McKee went to the polls on Tuesday and made history for the City of McKee as well as the entirety of Jackson County. On Monday, September 09, 2019. Judge Gabbard formally entered Order #09032019 into the minutes of the fiscal court meeting authorizing (pursuant to KRS 242.030) the placement of a “local option election question” on the upcoming November 05th, 2019 McKee City ballot. The action of the fiscal court was mandated because a petition was circulated within the City of McKee that successfully garnered enough signatures to include the local option question, “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in the City of McKee” on the upcoming November 5th, 2019 General Election City of McKee ballot. According to Judge Gabbard, in order to meet the standard set forth by KRS 242.020, the petition submitted by a City of McKee voter required signatures from constitutionally qualified voters equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the votes cast in the territory at the last preceding general election. There were 200 registered voters in McKee city limits that participated in the last general election. Therefore, the criterion required at least 50 signatures and the petition obtained 52. On Election Day (Tuesday, November 05th, 2019) a total of 181 City of McKee voters made their way to the polls to cast their vote on the issue. The final vote was 100 in favor of alcohol sales in McKee and 81 opposed to alcohol sales in McKee.
The last time this issue was addressed by Jackson County voters was in 1937. According to the April 08th, 1937 issue of the Jackson County Sun, Jackson County was voted “dry” on April 03rd, 1937 with a vote of 1,568 to 214. The voting was the result of a drive that began in September 1936. A petition was secured with the required number of signatures to place the local option on the ballot for the next election. However, improper posting of public notices delayed the vote from the initial date of December 05, 1936 to April 03, 1937. The local option law forbid the sale of all alcoholic beverages within the county. Approximately one third of all the voters participated in the vote.
Although a formal action was required from Judge Gabbard and the fiscal court to issue the order (#09032019) that would authorize the local option question on the ballot, the ultimate decision rested entirely with the registered voters within the McKee City limits. The wet/dry vote garnered substantial interest throughout Jackson County, however, this local option question applied only to voters registered within the City of McKee.