UPDATE: Barbourville voters approve alcohol sales

Published: Dec. 28, 2015 at 10:19 PM EST
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The votes are in, and voters in Barbourville have decided to allow alcohol sales in the city.

It started with a petition back in October.

Now, a little more than 2 months later, the decision has been made.

People stood, waiting, inside the courthouse, as the final votes were tallied.

65 votes was the separation, in this case, between wet and dry.

The final count was 498 to 433, in favor of allowing alcohol sales in Barbourville.

“I’m excited and relieved in a sense. This is an opportunity for Barbourville to grow. The voters that went to the polls today have chosen the direction they want to pursue,” said Bob Dunaway, one of the original petitioners.

Some, however, were not quite as enthusiastic.

“Our city, the very core of the county, is now going to have a black cloud over it,” said Pastor, Leonard Lester.

And he says, it may be over for now, but it’s not over for good.

“We’re going to come back in three years and visit this thing again. When you’re concerned and you want to protect something you love, you can’t give up,” said Lester.

But some say, Tuesday’s decision puts their historic hometown, on the right track.

“Since the 1930s, we’ve been stuck in the same rut. This gives us an opportunity to grow and change. We haven’t had that opportunity in a long time,” said Dunaway.

Election officials say everything ran smoothly throughout the polling process.

Things are now placed in the hands of the Barbourville City Council and Alcoholic Beverage Control, as to when alcohol sales will be allowed.


Some folks in here in Knox County are ready to hit the polls tomorrow. A little more than 24 hours from now, we should know if Barbourville will go ‘wet’, or remain ‘dry’.

There was a similar special election about four years ago; but 55% of voters were against the sale of alcohol in Barbourville, so the town has since remained dry.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, and the votes will be counted, shortly after.

“I would think the answer would be relatively quick, since we only have 6 precincts, and they’re all rather close to the courthouse. I would think, by about 7:00 tomorrow night, we’ll probably know what the answer is.”>

Nearly 1,000 people voted in the similar special election in February of 2012.

Officials say numbers could be slightly higher than that Tuesday.

As of noon Monday, 100 absentee ballots had already been cast.