“It’s an archaic law, left over from when the church ran local government,” Kennesaw resident Shawn Price said as he left the polls at Kennesaw Elementary School with his wife, Catherine. “If South Carolina can beat us to legalize it, then it’s a sad state.”
“By two years,” his wife added.
The Prices, both 42, were among the 73 percent of Kennesaw voters casting ballots in favor of allowing package sales of liquor, beer and wine on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. There were 2,214 votes for and 801 against.
Smyrna and Acworth residents also voted to allow Sunday sales by more than 70 percent of the vote.
The issue was approved, 4,273 votes (76 percent) to 1,333 votes, in Smyrna.
In Acworth — which will apparently be the first city in Cobb where the measure takes effect — the issue passed by 72 percent, with 699 votes for Sunday sales and 260 votes against. Sunday sales will be legal there as of Dec. 1, or really Dec. 4, the first Sunday of the month.
Atlanta voters have overwhelmingly approved Sunday alcohol sales, clearing the way for shoppers to be able to buy liquor as soon as New Year’s Day.
Fulton County Board of Elections spokesman Mark Henderson says the unofficial results show the measure has passed by a vote of 81 percent to 19 percent with 93 percent of the precincts reporting.
Voters in neighboring Cherokee County also gave strong approval to Sunday sales. The referendum passed in unicorporated Cherokee, Woodstock, Canton, Holly Springs and Ball Ground.
Smyrna resident Regina Little, 55, said she has gotten used to the blue laws since moving to Georgia, but it’s time to adapt.
“I think it will be positive because you’re going to bring more money into the city,” she said.
Shane Touhy, who’s been in the restaurant business where alcohol can already be sold on Sunday, said he doesn’t feel that allowing residents to bring alcohol home will be harmful.
“It will be a little competition, but it’s all about choice,” Touhy, 40, said as he left the Smyrna Community Center.
In Smyrna, the new law goes into effect Jan. 1, which falls on a Sunday in 2012.
Kennesaw has a tentative date of Jan. 1 to start Sunday sales, but the city must still hold two public hearings before council can rewrite city ordinances.
Still, not everyone is in favor of Sunday alcohol sales.
Phyllis Cagle of Kennesaw, a great grandmother of three, voted against the Sunday sales issue in her city.
“I’m against that, period, because I think that’s a day that everybody should recognize,” she said. “It’s a religious day, and I don’t think you need to have people going in and buying the liquor and coming home and causing problems and being drunk. I think that’s a day of just relaxation and remembering what Sunday’s all about in the first place.”
Sunday sales was also approved in unincorporated Cherokee County, where it passed with two-thirds of the vote, as well as several cities there. The cities of Woodstock, Canton, Holly Springs and Ball Ground all passed Sunday sales with at least 60 percent of the vote.
More residents of Cobb could be able to buy alcohol on Sunday next year. Both the county commission and Marietta’s city council have already agreed to put the Sunday sales question to voters during the March 6 presidential primary.
Janine Eveler, director of Cobb Elections, said her office did not have any reports of voting problems on Tuesday, but did see some confusion from residents of Marietta and unincorporated Cobb.
“No problems with voting, just a lot of people who live in unincorporated Cobb or in the City of Marietta who are hearing news reports and want to vote on Sunday sales. They’re calling to ask questions or just showing up at facilities where they usually vote and asking school and church personnel why their poll isn’t open. We always get some of that when we conduct city elections.”