Voters in more than 100 Georgia cities and counties cast ballots yesterday on whether to allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. And it passed in Valdosta, Atlanta, Savannah and many other cities.
Those who support the referendum say it’s a matter of giving communities local choice and bringing Georgia into the 21st century.
And on Election night, supporters at the Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville made sure to grab some alcohol to celebrate the initiative’s success.
Jamie Dempsey heads Georgians for Sunday Alcohol Sales. Earlier this year, he lobbied legislators to pass the bill allowing communities to vote on the issue.
“We know that this is a contentious issue," he said. "But it’s not a moral issue. It’s not a religious issue. It is an issue of economics. It is an issue of business viability and that’s what we were pushing for.”
Opposition groups, however, say voting ‘yes’ will boost the number of alcohol-related car accidents. Christopher Cole of Atlanta voted against it and he said what's more,it's an unnecessary step.
"It’s not for religious reasons. It’s not for moral reasons," he said outside of his polling place. "I just like the fact that Sunday is different from every other day. And I guess I just like the fact that businesses and every day life has to adjust to that at least in some small way.”
This is the first year communities can decide the issue for themselves. Both supporters and opponents expect many more municipalities to vote on the issue in next year’s primary and general elections.
Sunday alcohol sales referenda failed in Pendergrass and Comer in northeast Georgia and in the Atlanta suburb of Forest Park.