Petition gatherers make final push for deadline to put liquor sales on the ballot
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Mitch Lofton is counting the hours from now until June 1, when he must submit 1,465 signatures on a petition to the city of Copperas Cove, to place the legalization of the sale of alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks on the November ballot.
At this time, Lofton needs approximately 462 more registered voters to sign the petition before he can submit it by the close of business on Monday.
Lofton has been at the “grassy knoll” near the gas station at Wal-Mart to gather signatures from registered voters, along with Applebees, while others have gathered signatures at Giovanni's Restaurant. Lofton has said that petition gatherers will also meet up with those wanting to sign the petition, if need be.
The petition can also be signed at HOT Vapors, the Cove Leader-Press office, the Cove Banner office, along with Applebees. The Network's Facebook page is updated regularly about signing locations and times.
“After checking with the Secretary of State office to clarify our deadline, it appears that we will have until June 1 to turn in the petition,” Lofton posted on The Network's Facebook page. “If you know any registered voters of Copperas Cove or Lampasas County registered to vote in Cove, get them to sign please. We will come to them if necessary.”
There are two big “ifs” that would bring more sit-down restaurants to Copperas Cove, namely chain restaurants: If Lofton and his team are successful in getting enough signatures to place the liquor sales option on the ballot for November, and if come November, Copperas Cove voters give the measure a resounding yes.
Right now, “dry” cities like Copperas Cove rely on the “club” system to sell alcoholic beverages that contain hard liquor at restaurants. This system keeps many restaurant chains away from Copperas Cove due to the cost and the recordkeeping involved.
That's just one reason Lofton and others are trying to get the rules to change in Copperas Cove. Another reason is sales tax dollars, not just from liquor sales but other sales lost from residents shopping in other communities that sell liquor.
This is the second application for a liquor petition with the city in as many years, with a petition application being approved in 2014 but falling short of qualified signatures at that time.
Lofton said some mistakenly think if they signed the petition last year, they don't need to this time. "This is a different petition, and if you signed in 2014, you still need to sign this one," Lofton said.
Locations to sign the Petition are;
Frames N Things (Cove Terrace Shopping Center) 9-5
Copperas Cove Leader-Press 9-5 Friday
Cove Banner Cove Terrace 9-5 Friday
Heart of Texas Vapors, Bus. 190
The Bru Thru Daiquiri Factory 10-9 p.m. all weekend, located on Bus.190.
Applebee's after 6 p.m.
Voters can sign the petition through Sunday.