- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Alcohol sales campaigns in five counties and two cities in Arkansas are collecting signatures in hopes that voters can decide in November whether to make their communities wet.

Arkansas Business (https://bit.ly/1NwiWSU ) reports that campaign committees have formed in the dry counties of Independence, Little River, Randolph, Johnson and Crawford as well as the dry city of Farmington to push the issue of allowing alcohol sales with the argument that doing so would boost their local economies.

Sherwood in wet Pulaski County is also considering the issue. Half of the city is dry, but the township that made it that way decades ago is now defunct.

The campaigns must gather signatures from 38 percent of voters in their respective jurisdictions by July in order to put the question on the ballot. Going wet can allow alcohol to be sold at local restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, grocery stores and liquor stores, depending on the proposal’s wording.

Bob Carius, chairman of Keep Our Dollars in Independence County, said his group has collected more than 6,000 signatures out of the 8,000 it needs. However, the group’s goal is to reach 12,000 signatures, just in case the secretary of state’s office declares some invalid.

Wal-Mart has contributed about $294,000 total to at least five of the campaigns.

Calls to the committee in Johnson County weren’t immediately returned.

The latest efforts come after successful dry-to-wet changes in the past six years, including in Boone, Sharp, Clark, Benton, Madison, Columbia and Saline counties as well as the Park Hill neighborhood in North Little Rock.

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Information from: Arkansas Business, https://www.arkansasbusiness.com

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