following a primary or general election. Turnout was typically very light for such elections as little publicity attended them and just a few voters could decide the issue, tempting petitioners for such elections to try as often as they could. (The minimum petition requirement for such an election is still 25% of all votes cast at the last previous general election in whatever territory is voting on liquor sales.) Having such separate elections on a special day was also a great expense and inconvenience in many counties. Now, if a party wants to hold such an option election on any day but the primary or general day of an election, they must post a bond with the Circuit Court to cover all costs of the election within five (5) days after the signed petition is filed. The cost of the election shall be established by the county judge/executive to determine the bond amount. All costs of such an election are borne by the petitioner. So, from here on, there will be a significant incentive to keep these local option elections on regular election days. The major objection in the past to doing such a reform has come from members of the General Assembly who did not want such measures on the ballots when they were running as well, and so supported a separate day for holding them. However, given the small turnouts these elections have and the very large number of offices our Kentucky ballots typically carry, it is unlikely candidates for office will have their own elections influenced by these factors. As always, such elections may not be held more than once every three years, and most likely we will see few if any, of them on special days in the future. There’s something to which we can all raise a glass of cheer. One of the most “lobbied-for” bills in recent decades, the reform of Kentucky’s local option elections for liquor sales, finally passed in 2017. Kentucky, like 36 other states, allows local option elections for counties, cities, and precincts, to decide whether and to what extent liquor may be sold, leaving a bewildering patchwork of “wet”, “dry” and “moist” territories across the Commonwealth. To confuse things further, Kentucky issues over 70 different types of liquor licenses. HB 319 specifies that local option elections be held on “The day fixed by law for holding a primary, the petition shall be filed not earlier than the first Wednesday after the first Monday in November of the year preceding the day on which the primary is to be held and not later than the last Tuesday in January preceding the day fixed by law for holding the primary.” Or, for the local option election to be held on “the day fixed by law for a regular election, the petition shall be filed not later than the second Tuesday in August preceding the day fixed by law for holding the regular election.” Before this, all local option elections had to be held 30 days preceding or 7 Big Changes In Local Option Elections By: Frank Friday Esquire Director