Voters overwhelmingly approved a municipal referendum Tuesday to allow alcohol sales on Sunday in Jasper.
There were a total of 1,950 ballots cast throughout the day, with 1,258 votes to allow Sunday sales to 692 votes against it.
A breakdown of votes shows there were 436 votes cast in District 1; 493 in District 2; 444 in District 3; 335 in District 4; and 216 in District 5. A breakdown of yes/no votes in each district was not available.
There were 20 absentees ballots cast, with 16 voting to allow Sunday alcohol sales and four against it.
City leaders were confident heading into the election that voters would pass the measure.
“The only thing I had to guide my thinking (on how it would go) was from the Alabama League of Municipalities,” Mayor David O’Mary said. “I had the opportunity to meet with leaders from cities comparable in size to Jasper, and the subject of Sunday sales came up and Jasper was the only city which didn’t have Sunday alcohol sales. The cities that had elections like we had today, all passed by fairly wide margins.
“But I really didn’t know what to expect,” he added. “Because all these cities around the state had similar outcomes, it was reasonable to believe that folks in Jasper would do the same.”
Tuesday’s municipal election was the first in the city that utilized a centralized voting site. Voters from all five districts cast ballots at the Jasper Civic Center in downtown Jasper.
O’Mayor said he, along with most city council members he had talked to, heard no complaints about the centralized voting site.
While alcohol will soon be legally sold on Sundays in the city, it cannot be sold until after 12 p.m. Sunday sales aren’t expected to begin until late August or early September, O’Mary said.
Allowing Sunday alcohol sales could be an economic boost to the city in sales tax revenue and the addition of jobs.
That may not be evident for a while, O’Mary said.
Some landowners, he said, have already indicated they have businesses — particularly restaurant chains — closely watching the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
“I don’t think having Sunday sales will cause anybody to come to Jasper,” he said, “but I do think the absence of Sunday sales would cause people to not consider Jasper.”
The Jasper City Council will certify the results at noon next Tuesday.