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Voters say yes to Sunday alcohol sales
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Dawsonville voters approved the referendum to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays with 63 percent of the vote.

The vote was close with 192 voting for and 114 against.

By the time Dawsonville citizens finally got the chance to vote on Sunday sales of packaged spirits, the community seemed uninterested.

In fact there was very little talk for or against in the weeks leading up to Tuesdays vote.

The only indicator that the Sunday retail alcohol sales issue might be a hot one was the number of votes cast through the early voting period, which ended at the close of business last Friday. A total of 150 votes had been cast - a 50 percent increase over the early voting period in 2009, when only 99 early votes were cast.

Many citizens may have become weary of the issue because of all the conversation - and discord- leading up to the vote this year.

First, state lawmakers battled over the issue during the 2011 legislative session before finally approving a measure that would make Sunday package alcohol sales legal in Georgia, contingent upon local laws. That move essentially gave cities and counties in Georgia the opportunity to decide independently, by referendum, whether they would pass local laws allowing the retail sale of alcohol for off-site consumption between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Initially, the Dawsonville City Council voted unanimously against putting the referendum before voters. Three weeks later, in a called council meeting, Mayor Joe Lane Cox broke a tie vote, paving the way for citizens to decide on the matter at the polls at last.

I think (Sunday sales) would be good for the city and good for us, too, said Ebrahim Akbarshahi, owner of the Dawsonville Exxon Food Mart on tourist-heavy Highway 53 just west of downtown Dawsonville. Customers are frustrated they cant buy alcohol on Sunday here when they are used to being able to everywhere else they go, said the cautiously optimistic proprietor the day before voting day. They get mad.

Russell Marcotte, co-owner of City Liquor in downtown Dawsonville, seemed prepared to accept whatever the winds of public opinion might bring.

If (the referendum) passes, the plan for me is definitely to be open Sundays, Marcotte said Monday. If it doesnt pass, then Ill still have a day off.