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Local & Regional

Oklahoma's Last Dry Counties May Allow Liquor Sales

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BEAVER, Okla. (AP) — Residents in all of Oklahoma's "dry" counties have voted to go wet, but one county's results are still up in the air.

Beaver County is one of 14 counties that approved a proposition allowing for liquor sales by the drink in Tuesday's election. Unofficial results showed Beaver County passed the measure by seven total votes, but the county still hasn't counted 10 provisional ballots, the Oklahoman reported.

The Beaver County Election Board will meet Friday to count the final votes, which could reverse the election outcome, said Christi Landsen, the board's secretary. The county would become Oklahoma's last remaining dry county if the proposition flips.

Restaurants and other businesses in Beaver County and other previously dry counties risked being unable to serve beer after Oct. 1, when changes from a state ballot question take effect.

The ballot measure doesn't prohibit the sale of low-strength beer, but instead allows grocery stores and convenience stores to sell stronger beer. The measure removes the need for most major beer producers to ship lower-alcohol versions of their product to Oklahoma, making it difficult for businesses in dry counties to obtain products to sell in bars or restaurants.

The 14 counties' unofficial approvals allow Oklahoma to undergo alcohol-related changes in a more uniform manner beginning in October, said Lisette Barnes, president of the Oklahoma Beer Alliance.

"It's going to create more tax revenue, and I think it's a good thing," said Julie Breger, owner of J&J's Sports Bar in Coal County, which passed the proposition with 75 percent voter approval. "I think it's going to be fun, I need to come up with a Coal County drink."