Voting heats up for liquor vote

Forging Ahead school bus driving around Pigeon Forge to promote liquor referendum. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) --- Early voting is up for Pigeon Forge's liquor by the drink referendum and now the group wanting liquor served has a new tool driving around town.

Forging Ahead, the group supporting liquor drinks, has paid for a school bus to drive around town, painted with the groups message. The bus is also being used to take people to the polls during early voting and on election day.

"We hope we don't have to go through it again. We hope the voters will protect the, the liquor by the drink's here. We hope the voters will protect it which will protect economic development here in Pigeon Forge, the money for schools and things like that," said Ken Maples with Forging Ahead. "Again it's a single issue and we've gotta get the message out there that we've gotta re-vote. It's a single issue, it's a Thursday instead of a Tuesday. So we did everything we could to get the message out to the voters."

So far, the Sevier County Election Commission says 826 people have voted in the early voting. Early voting lasts through Saturday at noon.

People looking to vote early can go to the Sevier County Election Commission office on Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville February 22, 2013 - March 9, 2013. The office will be open Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm and on Saturday's from 9am - Noon.

11 restaurants are now serving liquor in Pigeon Forge, permits were issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Board after the November election was certified. Restaurant owners now wonder what happens to their investments.

A Sevier County Chancery Court Judge ruled that a November 2012 election was inaccurate and ordered a new election to determine if liquor should be sold at restaurants in Pigeon Forge.

Sevier County Chancellor Telford Fogerty ordered a new election take place no sooner than 45 days and no later than 60 days from now. He did not say whether businesses already serving liquor must stop.

The ruling came after a lawsuit filed after the November election challenged 289 votes.

The election will take place on March 14th.

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