Trial date set in Oneonta wet/dry "right to vote" case - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Trial date set in Oneonta wet/dry "right to vote" case

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A trial date has been set for a "right to vote" case involving a Blount County city that's excluded from scheduling a referendum for voters to decide whether to legalize alcohol sales.

The case of Neal vs. the City of Oneonta is set for July 26 at 9 a.m. in Judge Steven King's courtroom.

According to a 2009 state law, Blount County is one of a few states that are excluded from allowing local elections that allow municipalities with populations of at least 1,000 people hold wet-dry referendums.

The cities of Blountsville, Cleveland, Hayden, and Locust Fork also meet that criteria within Blount County and have joined Oneonta in suit.  They claim the law is unconstitutional because they are being denied their right to vote in such elections like most other counties in Alabama.

The city scheduled a referendum after a group of citizens approached the council with a valid petition.  That action was blocked on an injunction, which led to the legal challenge.

City manager Ed Lowe said this was Oneonta's only option because they couldn't get their legislative delegation to address the issue during the legislative session.

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