MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s one day left in the push to let voters decide whether Tennessee grocery stores can sell wine.
The group Red, White and Food is trying to gather enough petition signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot.
Joe Bell of Kroger is one of the people behind a push to change Tennessee state law. He, for obvious reasons, wants to see wine sold on grocery store shelves.
“We get a lot of requests from consumers who come into the store wanting to buy wine along with their groceries,” Bell said.
For a referendum to be put on the November 4 ballot, Red, White and Food must collect a certain number of petition signatures in each municipality.
“It takes ten percent of registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election,” Bell said. “They must sign a petition by municipalities.”
Bell said Memphis has about 9,500 of the nearly 14,000 signatures it needs to get the wine referendum on the ballot. However, he said he’s still confident, because votes are still being counted.
Many communities have already reached the number of signatures they need.
“Covington has enough to be on the ballot in November…Atoka, Oakland, Dyersburg, Paris, Savannah, Jackson, Tennesse.,” Bell said.
Germantown, Arlington and Bartlett also reached the numbers they need.
Petitions must be turned into the Shelby County Election Commission by 5 p.m. Thursday.
The commission is working to verify signatures as they come in, but with so many to examine, it could be a week or more before we know anything for sure.
If the referendum is passed on the November ballot in the communities with enough signatures, wine still would not hit grocery store shelves until July 2016.