Residents contest Sunday sales - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Residents contest Sunday sales

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November 15, 2004

Leesburg-- Only residents of unincorporated Lee County had a say in whether alcohol can be served in restaurants on Sundays.

Sunday sales passed by a 600 vote margin two weeks ago.

But, about 1,400 voters in Leesburg and Smithville didn't get to vote on the referendum and some of them aren't happy about it.

When Lee County voters went to the polls November 2nd not all of the ballots were the same. George "Smitty" Johnson says, "We pay taxes to the county, so we felt like we should have the right to vote on any referendum that goes on."

But, the right to vote on Sunday alcohol sales was reserved for voters in unincorporated Lee County only--a move these Leesburg residents say is wrong. Dr. Darwin Bulloch says, "Lewis Harris, my commissioner, made the motion to put this on here. Mr. Sizemore, who represents Smithville, seconded the motion and his people and Mr. Harris's people do not have a right to vote on this issue, I think it is kind of ironic."

Now these men have written and filed a legal motion contesting the election, saying that their constitutional right was denied by not allowing them to vote on the Lee County Liquor Sales Referendum.

The referendum was written to include unincorporated Lee County residents only and these men say that is inconsistent since they have voted on other county wide referendums, like the penny sales tax. Johnson says, "I like to make decisions where I pay taxes, it effects me, it effects my taxation, my income, my livelihood here."

They want to make a decision too on whether alcohol is served on Sundays in Lee County, but they won't say which side they support, "Smitty and I have not discussed how I would vote on this issue, in fact I haven't discussed it with anyone until you asked me that question," says Bulloch.

They want to reserve that answer for the ballot box. A Warner Robins judge is expected to rule on the case. The Lee County Administrator and Elections Supervisor wouldn't comment because of the litigation.

Posted at 4:27 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com