Sweetwater Liquor-by-the-Drink Fails by One Vote

Sweetwater, Monroe County (WVLT) - One vote, that's all that separated the yes's from the no's in a battle over liquor in Sweetwater.

In the end, by a count of 654 to 653, there will be no liquor by the drink in Sweetwater, but not without a little controversy.

Three votes were left uncounted, ruled invalid by the Election Commission.

Every vote does count.

But for your vote to count, you have to be a registered voter.

And because three people were not, we'll never know, if the vote totals would have changed this election.

A sigh of relief as those against the liquor by the drink referendum prevailed.

"First of all, praise God for those people who got out and voted and give God the glory for this victory,” says Phil Roy from Citizens Against Legalized Liquor.

After Thursday night's tally, the referendum was losing by a single vote, with three provisional votes still uncounted.

Citizens in Sweetwater were left hanging in suspense.

"I didn't expect it to be that close,” says Geneva Moore. “I thought there would be more against it.”

But in a Friday hearing, the Election Commission found no verification the provisional voters were registered to vote. So, their votes were not counted and the referendum failed.

"You win some, you lose some, you know? But if it was to be passed, I think it would have brought a whole lot of new revenue and new jobs,” says Mark Belcher, who voted for liquor by the drink.

"We're friends, and we want to remain friends. So, let's work together for the betterment of Sweetwater. This was not a way for the betterment of Sweetwater,” says Roy.

Election officials say they will send a notice to the provisional voter, explaining why their vote was not counted, and include a voter registration form.

But some in Sweetwater feel those for liquor by the drink will not stop until it is passed.

"It probably will the next time, but not that we all want it. But apparently, a lot of people do,” says Moore.

No word if an election contest is planned, but because the vote was so close, election officials say it can go back on the ballot in the next city election. In just two years.