BENTON, Kentucky — Marshall County voters have chosen by a slim margin to allow alcohol sales for the first time since 1938.
The measure won by just 202 votes, with the unofficial total from the Tuesday special election showing 6,431 in favor and 6,229 opposed. The measure allows both package and by-the-drink sales across the county.
Randy Newcomb, executive director of the Marshall County Tourist Commission, was one of the measure's backers. The Paducah Sun reports (http://bit.ly/1eAdhdu) he told a crowd at a celebration after the vote, "I think a lot of it had to do with our citizens seeing the other communities around us who have gone wet. They saw that we were missing out on some of the benefits economically."
Newcomb says a recent study showed the current demand for alcohol in Marshall County would have a $3.9 million annual impact.
Keith Travis, chairman of the dry group Say No Now, has argued the social effects of selling alcohol far outweigh potential economic benefits. Speaking after the defeat on Tuesday, he told members of the group they should "be prayerful" about the results.
"Tomorrow morning we'll wake up, and we'll still be Marshall Countians," he said.
The measure was last voted on in 2012, when it failed.
Wayne Sego, 74, of Benton attended the Say No Now gathering. He said he was surprised and disappointed by the Tuesday outcome. He attributed the change from 2012's results to newcomers moving into the area.
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com