Election results show large support for Sunday alcohol sales

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Voting at the Buckhead Library. Ballot measures include sales tax extensions for schools and Sunday Alcohol sales in Atlanta.
ATLANTA,None —

Officials worked to count and verify votes across Georgia on Tuesday as voters waited for results on races that would determine mayors, taxes and Sunday liquor sales.

Numbers show one of the biggest issues of the election, Sunday alcohol sales, passed by an overwhelming margin in most metro Atlanta communities. Voters approved Sunday liquor sales in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Austell, Lawrenceville, Snellville, Peachtree City, Canton, Woodstock and several other locations.

Voters in Smyrna told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt that alcohol was the major issue getting them to the polls on Tuesday.

“Liquor, voting for the liquor law,” one resident told Cavitt.

“Everyone I’ve talked to say they’re coming out for Sunday sales,” another woman told Cavitt.

The Georgia Legislature gave local municipalities the option of offering voters the chance to weigh in on the issue earlier this year and more than 100 communities added the issue to the ballot. 

Because Atlanta already had a special election scheduled, the city council last month decided to add the issue to the ballot. Many local governments declined to take up the issue at extra expense if they had no other contests.

“It’s all around us. It’s time Georgia. It’s time for Sunday sales. Sunday football games, it’s no fun without beer,” another voter said.
The effective dates for the measure will vary by municipality -- meaning that voters would not necessarily be able to buy alcohol at a grocery or liquor store on the first Sunday after the measure passes in their community.

Some heated local elections brought other voters to the polls. In Gwinnett County, voters had to decide if they wanted to extend a Special Local Option Sales Tax for schools. Voters in Peachtree Corners decided to make their community a new city, however, it wasn’t easy for some to cast a vote.

Channel 2’s Jeff Dore talked to several Gwinnett County voters who were on a mystery voting circuit that took them to up to three different polling places.

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Berkeley Lake residents voted on Sunday liquor sales at city hall, but to vote on the county SPLOST they had to vote at an elementary school, and to vote on cityhood for Peachtree Corners, they had to travel to a third location at Pinckneyville Park.

"I would prefer voting in two or three places with no waits than one place with a lengthy wait, so, I'm OK with it," voter Jim Fox told Dore.

DeKalb County voters approved a SPLOST vote of their own. Extending the penny sales tax will pay for $475 million in projects over five years. Fulton and Cherokee county voters also were asked to weigh in on extending their SPLOST. Voters in both counties approved the extension on Tuesday.
 
There are several mayoral races in Cobb County, including in Austell, Kennesaw, Smryna and Powder Springs.

Smyrna residents may have had one of the longest local ballots. Nineteen different candidates were vying for mayoral and council seats in a series of races that’s included disappearing signs, vandalized signs and even a candidate’s wife punched while trying to stop a sign vandal in the act. The mayoral race winners included Mark Matthews for Kennesaw, Pat Vaughn for Powder Springs and A. Max Bacon for Smyrna.