A Sebastian County Circuit Court judge voided the election results allowing liquor sales in Barling. The issue was strongly supported by City Director Bruce Farrar, and two-thirds of Barling voters were in favor of the measure.
Erik Danielson, the attorney who represents the 21 Barling residents who filed a complaint asking a judge to void the election results, said after prohibition was repealed all counties were designated “wet.” The southern part of Sebastian County voted to go “dry” in 1944.
“To reverse that the entire subdivision that voted ‘dry’ has to then revote to go ‘wet,’” said Danielson.
In the recent election, only residents in Barling voted to change the town’s status. According to Arkansas law, approval required 38 percent of the registered voters in the southern district of Sebastian County.
Law also states the topic of liquor sales can’t be resubmitted to voters for four years following an election on the issue. Danielson said since the judge’s ruling voids the most recent election, supporters of alcohol sales will argue it’s as if this election never happened.
“That’s an issue that I suspect will probably be litigated in the future,” said Danielson.
Barling City Director Bruce Farrar, who was a strong supporter of alcohol sales in the town, said he was “disappointed” with the judge’s ruling.
Employees at Big A’s in Barling said their business would benefit from being able to sell alcohol.
“We always have all kinds of people coming in looking for [alcohol], and I have to send them down the road,” said Angel Clements.
Clements voted in favor of alcohol sales in Barling during the recent election and said she’ll vote for it again in a future election.
Danielson said despite the economic impact alcohol sales might have brought to the town, his clients felt upholding the election law was more important.