UPDATE: Signal Mtn joins Lakesite and Red Bank with enough signa - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Signal Mtn, East Ridge join cities with enough signatures for wine sales

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UPDATE: Signal Mountain and East Ridge have joined Lakesite and Red Bank as the only communities in Hamilton County that have enough validated signatures of voters to put the wine sales in grocery stores question on the ballot in November.
"I've lived in Atlanta where there's Publix and it just goes along with grocery shopping. If you want wine, it's right there," said supporter Tommy Dorough.
But not everyone is for more access to wine. Vickie Hurley owns Riley's Wine and Spirits on Hixson Pike. She said she at first panicked but is prepared should wine in supermarkets become a reality in Chattanooga.
"And I run into customers at different grocery stores around and they assure me that they will buy from us like they always have," Hurley said.
Hurley said her loyal customers will come back for the selection and the service.
The deadline for the petitions is Thursday. If passed, the earliest they could sell wine in the supermarkets is the summer of 2016.
Meanwhile, it's all hands on deck at the Hamilton County Election Commission as workers validate signatures. The amount of signatures must be greater than or equal to 10 percent of the voter turnout in the last gubernatorial election.

Chattanooga 710 3,865
Collegedale 77 185
Lookout Mtn. 27 94
Soddy Daisy 275 333
Walden  2 85
Unic. Hamilton Co 521 3,246

PREVIOUS STORY: Time is running out to sign a petition to vote for wine in grocery stores. Just two communities in Hamilton County have collected enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.

At the Hixson Publix, Gayle Marcus can buy just about anything -- except for a bottle of wine. That's why she's signing the petition Friday.

"I'm from South Florida, so I think people should have to right to drink if they want to, the right to buy wine at the grocery store with their beer," Marcus said.

"I don't see why if you can buy one, you couldn't buy the other. I think wine's actually better for you," said shopper, Sallie Estes.

"what bothers me is that, I don't think the government has the right to regulate every single thing we do or buy, I don't see what concern it is of theirs," Estes said.

Employees at the Hixson Publix said they've collected around 2,000 total signatures so far. The grocery chain is partnering with nonprofit Red White and Food to get as many signatures as possible.

Ten percent of a community's registered voters must sign the petition in order to get "wine in grocery stores" on the November ballot. Right now Lakesite and Red Bank are the only communities in Hamilton County that have collected the required number of signatures.

The Hamilton County Election Commission is still counting, but as of Friday afternoon, many areas are still falling short. Chattanooga still needs more than 3,400 valid signatures in order to vote.

"I don't really drink wine, but I don't see a problem with it," said shopper, Cary Estes.

Even for shoppers who aren't big fans of wine, like Estes, they want the freedom to buy it here if they want to.

"You've got to be 21 to buy it, so as long as you're responsible," he said.

The deadline to turn in signatures to the Election Commission is next Thursday. Petitions are available to sign at most area Publix and Bi-Lo stores.

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