NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Red, White and Food campaign says registered voters in 80 Tennessee municipalities will have the option to vote in referendums to allow the sale of wine in retail food stores.
“Our goal has always been to give Tennesseans the opportunity to vote on this issue, and now they will have that chance.”said Susie Alcorn, Red White and Food campaign manager.
Red White and Food, retail partners, and volunteers collected a total of 262,247 signatures statewide on petitions authorizing the wine question to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. T
he petition campaign began in mid-May, and the deadline for signature collection was Thursday, Aug. 21.
Alcorn says retail partnerships with BI-LO, Food City, Food Lion, Kroger, Publix, Superlo Foods and Walmart helped pull in enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.
“Their dedication to collecting signatures in-store made all the difference in the success of this campaign," Alcorn says.
Qualifying municipalities include Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County, Murfreesboro, the city of Memphis, Germantown, Jackson, the city of Chattanooga, Knoxville and unincorporated Knox County, and the Tri-Cities, including Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport.
“We will soon be gearing up for phase two of the campaign and getting all of our supporters to the polls,” said Steve Smith, president and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Food Stores/Food City, and board chairman of Red White and Food.
In order to be verified by the local election commissions, petitions from each qualifying municipality had to carry valid signatures equal to 10 percent of the residents who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Registered voters in qualifying communities will vote on the wine referendum when they go to the polls during the general election. Early voting runs from Oct. 15 to Oct. 30, and Election Day is Nov. 4.
In the municipalities where the referendum is approved in November, retail food stores will be able to sell wine beginning July 1, 2016.