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Sunday sales vote set for March ballot
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A referendum on Sunday package alcohol sales in Dawson County is set for the March 6 presidential preference primary.

The ballot will also ask voters whether restaurants in unincorporated areas of the county should be allowed to serve distilled spirits on Sundays.

They can currently serve only beer and wine from 12:30 p.m. to midnight on Sundays.

Dawson County commissioners approved the ballot questions during their regular meeting Thursday.

While he will not support Sunday sales personally, Commissioner James Swafford said he believes the public has the right to decide the matter.

"We can't legislate morality," he said.

Commissioner Gary Pichon made the motions, both of which were approved 3-0.

In the meantime, Pichon said, the commission will need to hold public hearings on revising the county's alcohol ordinance to include Sunday sales.

"After the public hearings, we could vote to adopt changes to the ordinance commiserate on the referendum passing," he said.

Earlier this month, Dawsonville voters overwhelmingly approved Sunday package sales for stores in the city by a nearly 63 percent to 37 percent margin.

Voters in the nearby cities of Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Oakwood have also approved Sunday sales.

Dawson County officials have said the estimated $15,000 cost to hold an election was one reason to delay the referendum until 2012, when several are scheduled.

Printing the ballots would be the only additional cost associated with the Sunday sales vote, according to Commission chair Mike Berg.

Most of the counties that border Dawson - Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Pickens - have not yet held a referendum on the issue.

Hall voters will also get to decide March 6 on whether to allow package sales and liquor by the drink on Sundays.