Nearly thirty percent of Ruston residents sign petition to vote for expanded alcohol sales

Joshua Gordon, Logistics Director for Advanced Microtargetings holds box of signatures

By Kyle Roberts

As of Thursday morning, nearly 3,300 signatures had been collected to petition the city of Ruston to add a vote on March 25, 2023, for residents to decide on expanding alcohol sales to grocery retailers within the city limits.

“We want to thank the thousands of Ruston voters who agreed an election should be held,” John Hatch of Hatch Consulting Group said. “We were allowed 60 days, and Ruston voters answered the call in less than 30.”

In order for the vote to be added, a total of 2,454 signatures of residents within the city limits of Ruston would need to be gathered. Out of the 3,300 signatures collected, the committee believes that 2,900 will be valid.

The signatures were turned into Sharon Parnell, the Lincoln Parish Registrar of Voters, on Thursday morning. From there, the petition sheets were counted multiple times by members of Parnell’s office to ensure integrity of the collection.

“We have what we call list maintenance in our system,” Parnell said. “We will go through each page and ensure all of the required information is listed, and all of that is set out by statutes. We have to make sure that everything that is required by the statutes is on each sheet by each name. We will be verifying each signature and making sure each of the signees is within the city limits of Ruston.”

Retailers such as Walmart and Super One Foods will be able to offer alcohol products that are more than six percent of alcohol by volume, which is expected to generate additional tax revenue for the city of Ruston.

“As a city administration, we have had numerous requests for the ability to purchase alcohol locally,” Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said. “With this petition, if certified, the citizens of Ruston will now have the chance to vote.”

State law requires signatures equaling 25 percent of residents for the measure to be put on the ballot; of the gathered signatures, it is expected to be 30 percent.

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