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Why Certain Areas of East Texas are ‘Dry’ and How to Make Them ‘Wet’

Hannah Foslien, Getty Images

Yesterday, I talked about my favorite beers for beating the Texas heat. With that being said, there aren’t too many other things that I enjoy more than sitting on my deck on a hot, steamy East Texas summer evening while sipping on a delicious, ice cold brew. There is just one thing that is confusing to me: Why do I have drive 20 miles out of town to get my beer?

I have only been living in East Texas now for about 2 1/2 months, and when I moved here, one of the first things I did was make a trip to the grocery store to stock up.  After I got all my groceries, I went to where the beer aisle is, (or at least where it usually is) and I was surprised to learn that not only could I not buy beer or wine at the grocery store, but that I couldn’t get it at a corner gas station either! Smith County, with the exception of Winona and Troup, is a dry county.

After looking into it, I was told certain parts of the counties are deemed wet and dry through local elections.  Some people said is was religious organizations who were responsible for keeping these communities dry. Other people said it was the senior citizen populations in those communities. Even still, other people told me citizens who are for the communities being wet were simply not getting out and voting in favor of changing law.

Whatever the reason may be, it got me interested in what steps you would have to take to get a certain precinct or community to become wet.

According to the T.A.B.C. (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission), you must pursue the local election option.

You can learn more about this process here: http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/local_option_elections/index.asp

It seems there is a process for getting this on a ballot for a vote.

You must first qualify for an application for a petition, then submit said application in order to get a petition.  After you get enough signatures on your petition, it can then go to ballot for a vote. For a complete description of what it takes, click this link from the Texas Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/liquorelections.shtml

In a time where it seems like our votes and opinions have little or no effect on what happens in Washington, we should always remember that the places where we can be heard the loudest and have the most effect are right here in our own communities!

Now that I have given you some tools for helping make this change, someone get out there and make it happen!

If not, I may just do it myself!  ;)   Who’s with me?

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