VAN BUREN COUNTY, Ark. — Van Buren County is one of 34 dry counties across the state, but that could all change in a few months.
County Clerk, Pam Bradford, announced the Wet/Dry issue will appear on the ballot in November 2020.
Bradford says 3,852 petitions were required to get this on the ballot, and the group ‘Let Van Buren County Vote’ turned in more than 4,000.
“For the past two months we’ve knocked on every door in Van Buren County to get people to sign a petition,” said David Byard.
Byard says he, along with 40 others in the group, has worked for months to get the necessary signatures. His hope is that the county will become ‘wet.’
“Right now the neighboring counties get all the sales tax off the alcohol sales. We want to keep our sales tax in this county for us to use, ” Byard said.
Byard says in addition to the economic benefit something like this could bring to the county, it will also make it safer.
“Right now if you wanted to buy a six-pack of beer you have to drive 40 miles and a lot of people will make that drive and let’s face it they don’t wait 40 miles until they start drinking,” said Byard.
Others say though this made its way on the ballot, their hope is that liquor will stay out of Van Buren County.
“I don’t like the idea of it being a wet county,” said Jill Davis.
Jill Davis has lived in Van Buren County for years. She says feels if the ballot initiative passes in November, it will make the county more dangerous.
“I like being in a place where I feel like my children are safe and they’re not gonna be out on the road and a drunk driver comes in hits them,” said Davis.
While the two disagree on the issue at large, they both say it’s important for people in the county to make their voice heard on November 3, 2020.