"(We're) Busy busy busy!"says County Clerk Tena O'Brien. "We've been very busy due to the census and school zones changing and elections."
This week is no different, the staff is working on one of their biggest challenges so far, verifying more than 56,000 signatures, turned in by Keep Dollars in Benton County last Thursday.
"I only have ten days from the date they turn in the petition to certify," O'Brien says. "My staff has just been wonderful, they come in early they stay late."
O'Brien gave up her office for the week to open up an extra computer, and she brought in three temporary employees to help check the signatures against the state database of registered Benton County voters.
O'Brien says more than 16,000 signatures have been validated, almost eighty one percent of those checked so far. If that trend continues, she says the petition will succeed.
"I believe this issue will be on the ballot, and folks will be able to vote on whether they want this to be a wet or a dry county," she says.
She won't know for sure until at least 41,171 signatures, representing 38 percent of the county's registered voters have been validated. The deadline is Monday, but O'Brien believes the office can certify the petition by Friday.
"We like to stay busy in here and it's a challenge," she says. "We're ready to meet the challenges."
Appeals can be filed for ten days after the petition is certified, if that doesn't happen the question can be placed on the ballot in November.