Voters in Greenville County will not be asked this November if they want to allow Sunday alcohol sales.
Earlier this month, Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House Owner David McCraw had gathered nearly 10,000 signatures in 12 days to get the petition approved for November’s ballot. This was more than the required 7500 signatures needed by July 7.
However, McCraw said the Greenville County Election Commission told him Friday that more than 2,500 of the names on the petition had been disqualified for different reasons.
“They were disqualified for multiple reasons from, number one, not being able read their signature or their actual printed name,” McCraw said.
The commission also said some of the signees were not registered Greenville County voters, although McCraw said he is still waiting on official results from the voter’s registration office to confirm the final numbers.
McCraw plans to continue his efforts to allow alcohol sales on Sunday in the county by asking council members to hold special council meetings before August’s deadline for ballot questions. The Greenville County Council and McCraw have butted heads on the matter, with the restaurateur saying they have avoided this ordinance in recent County Council meetings.
“I’m asking the county council do the people’s work and come in and have two special meetings, and realize that there were 10,000 people who have requested that this be on the ballot,” McCraw said.
The petition effort came after County Council voted 6-4 to hold off on the referendum for Sunday sales in June. A majority of Greenville County councilmembers oppose expanding alcohol laws for different reasons. Some said they worried voters may confuse the petition campaign with another sales tax referendum already on the ballot this fall. Others say they don’t want to expand alcohol sales, worried about the negative effects of possible DUIs and other problems.
If Sunday alcohol sales don’t go on the ballot in November, McCraw said he is already prepared to start a new appeal for 2016. It is waiting for petitioners to sign at his restaurant now.
“At Palmetto we have the 2016 petition there,” McCraw noted. “We have two years and three months, so this is not going to be an issue in 2016.”
Patrick Ingraham filed this report