The sample ballot for the election states, “Shall the governing authority of Paulding County be authorized to permit and regulate packaged sales by retailers of malt beverages and wine on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.?”
First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Jeremy Lundy opposes Sunday sales, he said.
“My stance is this: Looking at alcohol-related divorces, abuse and deaths, why allow another day to drink?” Lundy said.
Lundy referred to statements on the World Health Organization’s web site which say, “Alcohol is associated with many serious social and developmental issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace.”
He also cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which show around 80,000 deaths each year in the United States are from extreme use of alcohol, which makes alcohol use the third highest lifestyle-related cause of death in America.
Publix supermarkets favors Sunday sales, said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix’s Atlanta division.
“We are in favor of customers voting as to whether or not they would like to have Sunday sales in their community,” she said.
Reid said the company wants to make the shopping experience convenient for its customers, and allowing Sunday sales would give them the chance to buy alcohol in their own community instead of going to another.
Hiram is the only area within Paulding County which currently allows Sunday sales. Such other nearby cities as Villa Rica, Rockmart and Douglasville and counties including Douglas and Cobb also allow it, though neighboring Polk County narrowly voted it down in 2012.
As of March 5 only 170 Paulding residents had voted during the early voting period beginning Feb. 25, including 152 voting in person and 18 voting by mail, said Deidre Holden, election department supervisor. A total of 87,495 Paulding Countians are registered to vote.
“We are probably going to have a less than 5 percent turnout,” she said.
The county would like to see 25 to 50 percent of voters cast ballots, Holden said.
“We depend on the voters to get out,” she said.
The cost of an election this size, with all 14 precincts open March 19, is around $25,000 to $30,000, Holden said. Residents who do not want to go to the polls can order a paper ballot, she said.
“We have made voting so easy for people, you can vote from home,” she said.