Washingtonians aren't the only voters grappling with alcohol legislation today: Residents of 101 cities and counties across Georgia are deciding whether to legalize Sunday liquor sales.
Unlike Initiative 1183, which inspired the most expensive campaign in the state's history, the ballot measure in Georgia has generated relatively little excitement. A poll manager in Snellville today told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that most of the 240 voters he met this morning were drawn to the voting booth by a contested mayoral race.
Snellville voter James Freedle cast a no vote in the liquor sales referendum, telling a reporter he doesn't believe in drinking on any day that ends in "day."
Social conservatives, led by the Georgia Baptist Convention, successfully fought Sunday sales legislation for five years. But state legislators this spring passed a bill sending the question to local voters, after first-year Gov. Nathan Deal indicated he'd sign it.
The referendum is opposed by Christian groups, and many wine and liquor store owners, who don't want to lose their only day off or hire additional staffers.
Washington began permitting Sunday liquor sales in 2005, becoming the 33rd state to do so. Sunday liquor sales exceeded all projections, as many stores recorded double-digit sale increases on Sundays. Sunday liquor sales in Georgia are projected to annually produce a few million dollars in tax revenue. According to the New York Times, 12 states have increased alcohol taxes or adjusted alcohol laws since the start of the recession in hopes of raising additional state revenue.
Blue laws - designed to uphold the sanctity of the Sabbath - represent some of the earliest state efforts to control liquor consumption, with many rules dating back to the the Colonial period. Sunday liquor sales remain illegal in 13 states.