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Editorial: Is the dry committee trying to intimidate Harrodsburg voters?

August 12, 2003

Intimidation?

Of course not.

That's what the Mercer Pride and Progress Committee said last week in an ad in this newspaper and the Harrodsburg Herald.

No, according to its ad, the committee was not trying to make people think twice about signing a petition that would put the issue of liquor-by-the-drink in large restaurants on the ballot in Harrodsburg.

"Did you know that petitions to bring local Options to election are public record after they are submitted? Many people are not aware of this fact," the ad said.

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"The Mercer Pride and Progress Committee is considering publishing the complete list of voters who signed the current petition if the HLOC (the Harrodsburg Local Option Committee) is successful in obtaining enough signatures to have the County Clerk's office certify it," the ad continued.

"Our intent is not to humiliate or pass judgment. We make no claims or charges against those who might choose to sign a petition to allow the sale of alcohol in Harrodsburg."

The committee's "intent," according to its ad, is to publish the names on the petition to prevent duplication and fraud.

Frankly, we were relieved to read that the committee - if it publishes the names on its Internet Web site - would simply be trying to help the folks in the county clerk's office do their job of making sure the petitions are accurate.

At first, we thought the dry committee might be trying to publicly embarrass those Harrodsburg residents who would like the liquor-by-the-drink issue to be brought to a vote in their community. We suspected that might be the committee's intent because publishing the names on local option petitions is a tactic that has long been used by dry forces in wet-dry elections in other communities in the state.

We're glad to know that's not what the dry forces are up to in Harrodsburg. The tactic is entirely legal but it's kind of a nasty thing to do: publishing people's names just try to embarrass them.

It would probably backfire anyway in a place like Harrodsburg, where people aren't going to let anyone scare them out of having a vote on an issue that's important to the future of their community.

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