A lawsuit has been filed in Adair Circuit Court attempting to void the March 22 wet/dry election.
The lawsuit, filed against the Adair County Board of Elections, questions the timing of the local option election and claims that some signatures on a petition that brought about the vote did not qualify.
Attorney David Nunery, of Campbellsville, filed the civil suit on behalf of Chris Coomer, Jeanni Abston, Ronnie C. Rodgers and Charles E. Handy. No addresses were provided for the petitioners in the lawsuit, which was filed in Adair Circuit Court Thursday.
Kentucky law requires that a local option election cannot be held within 30 days of a regular political election. In the lawsuit, Nunery contends that the law is violated because the Republican Caucus was held on March 5, just 17 days prior to the local option election.
Kentucky’s law concerning local option elections was last revised in 1998, when there were no plans for a caucus. Kentucky traditionally holds primaries in May and a general election in November.
This time, however, the Republican party chose to hold a caucus, which allowed Rand Paul to run for president and U.S. Senate–Kentucky law does not allow a candidate to be on the ballot more than once.
If the same argument that allowed Paul to run for two offices holds up in court, then a caucus is not a “regular political election.” While it did allow Republicans to choose their delegates for the Republican nominee for president, it was not conducted as a traditional election through the Board of Elections and County Court Clerk, and local and state government were not involved in counting or certifying the votes.
Kentucky Revised Statute 242.030(3) states:
“The local option election shall not be held on the same day that a primary or general election is held in the territory or any part of the territory, nor within thirty (30) days next preceding or following a regular political election.
The interpretation of Kentucky law and how it affects the wet/dry vote will be new territory, which could mean a quick decision to throw out the case or a long, drawn out process. It will be up to the court to decide if a caucus is “a regular political election.”
The lawsuit does not elaborate on why names on the petition are being questioned. Progress in Adair County gathered the names and County Clerk Lisa Greer certified the signatures were people registered to vote and qualified to sign the petition.
COUNTY JUDGES SAYS ALCOHOL SALES WILL MOVE FORWARD
County Judge Executive Mike Stephens said activity would move forward to allow alcohol sales in May “unless someone intervenes.”
“The people spoke. This is a countywide mandate. I represent the people of Adair County and the majority speaks,” Stephens said.
Stephens said he worked with the local and state election boards to set the date for the wet/dry vote and believes the election was properly held.
“The caucus is not an election. It’s a process of a (political) party,” Stephens said.
The state is accepting license applications from local retailers to serve beer and other “malt” products. Stephens said the county is drafting an ordinance and once it is ready applications will be accepted for package stores.
Kentucky law states that a county goes wet 60 days after the election is held, which puts the date at May 21.
(Editor’s Note: The Jeannie Abston who is one of four people who filed this lawsuit is not Jeanie Abston who works at OK Country Cooking.)