PALMETTO, GA -- More than a hundred Georgia cities and counties voted on Sunday liquor sales yesterday -- and it passed in all but 21 of them. In metro Atlanta all but a couple of cities -- Palmetto and Lovejoy -- passed Sunday sales.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the new Sunday sales laws will take effect as early as later this month -- or as late as January. You can look at a list of cities statewide here.
Dozens of metro Atlanta cities approved, most of them overwhelmingly.
Lovejoy's votes were never tabulated because the city failed to file required paperwork on time with the US Justice Department, city manager Sebastian Jackson tells me. Jackson says 313 people voted in Lovejoy's election, which included a city council seat. None of the votes will count.
Palmetto, in South Fulton, was the only city locally to vote down Sunday package liquor sales.
"It's not an easy thing to digest right now," said Doug Cho, the owner of a liquor store in Palmetto.
"I knew it was going to be a tough vote," Cho said. "But with everyone talking about it, I figured it would pass."
Cho opened his store a year ago. Now he expects to see many of his customers go up the road to Union City -- which approved Sunday package liquor sales -- while his store stays closed on Sundays.
"If everyone voted it down, it's one thing." Cho said. "If everyone voted it up, it'd be all together y'know. So all of us (liquor store owners) would be in the same boat. But I don't like the idea where this one can (open legally), and this one (in an adjacent town) can't."
More than 600 people in Palmetto voted on Tuesday. The package liquor sales measure failed by only 17 votes. Interestingly, the same folks who voted on that also voted on selling liquor by the drink on Sundays. And that measure passed by eleven votes.
That makes Romello Combs a winner in Tuesday's vote in Palmetto. His new restaurant, the Tyme Out Neighborhood Grill, will be able to sell drinks on Sundays once it gets its state liquor license.
"It makes a huge difference," said Combs. But he's puzzled that voters gave his business the Sunday go-ahead while denying it to liquor stores. Cho's liquor store is next door.
"It doesn't make sense really," Combs said. "Because it hurts those guys as well." Combs says it would have been fair for both stores to sell liquor on Sundays.
Across Georgia, twenty one cities didn't approve Sunday Sales yesterday.
Some were pretty large -- Albany and Brunswick turned down Sunday sales.
Many more Georgia cities and counties didn't vote at all -- but are already starting to line up to vote in elections sometime next year.