Low voter turnout on liquor-by-the-drink referendum
March 17, 2015 marks Special Elections Day across the state of Georgia. In the city of Watkinsville, there are 1,759 voters, yet only 119 voters turned out to vote on the Liquor-by-the-Drink Referendum that was passed in Oconee County back in November of 2014. This referendum would allow local restaurants to sell liquor by the drink, which is an action unprecedented in Watkinsville.
A passage could lead to an increase in revenue for businesses as well as different types of residents coming to the area; however, some local residents expressed concern that their area would lose its small town feel and become more like Athens.
When asked about the reasoning for such low voter turnout, Jim Hansen, the Watkinsville City Hall Poll Manager, explained, “I really think it goes back to the margin of victory in the fall for the county, and I don’t think people here are any different.”
Voting officials explained that no matter how few people end up voting, the referendum will be decided by a majority vote.