Sunday alcohol sales vote upcoming

William Evans

The city of Tuscaloosa will vote Feb. 22 on a referendum to allow alcohol sales on Sundays.

Students must be registered to vote for the referendum before Feb. 10, Grant Cochran, SGA vice president of external affairs, said in an e-mailed statement.

“Registration for all voting in Alabama is 10 days before the vote,” he said. “Simply fill out a registration form and a representative from the SGA will submit it prior to the deadline… If there are any questions pertaining to the vote or voting sites, a representative from External Affairs can answer those.”

Cochran said students who are not native to Tuscaloosa must meet a simple requirement to vote in the referendum.

“Simply be a student at the University for 30 days, which all students at the time of the vote should be, and fill out a form,” he said.

The bill to authorize a vote on allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays passed the state House of Representatives in early March 2010 and was sponsored by state Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa.

The bill calls for the sale of alcohol on Sundays between noon and 9:30 p.m., except when a Sunday falls on New Year’s Eve, which would then permit businesses to sell alcoholic beverages until 2 a.m. Monday.

Caleb Sanders, a sophomore majoring in history, said he values the economic advantages to having alcohol sales on Sundays.

“From an economic standpoint, Tuscaloosa stands to make a lot of money … but it does increase the chance of accidents [occurring],” Sanders said.

When asked about the religious aspect of keeping Sunday as a day of rest, Sanders said he feels ambivalent.

“I am in the middle of the road,” he said. “From a religious background, it’s wrong [to have alcohol sales on Sunday]. But me, personally, I don’t really care. I’m morally pretty liberal. If you want to drink, then go ahead.”

Jeffery Dick, a senior majoring in history, said the ban on Sunday alcohol sales has not prevented people he knows from traveling long distances to purchase alcohol in other locations where Sunday alcohol sales are legal.

“If you’re going to drink, then you’re going to drink,” he said, “and I’d rather have someone drive two miles down the road than 20 miles to buy alcohol.”

Joe Field, a freshman majoring in philosophy, said religion should not influence legislation.

“It’s not cool to make everyone follow a law that is based off a religion,” Field said.

David Cifelli, a sophomore majoring in economics, said he does not believe non-residents of Tuscaloosa should vote in the referendum.

“I am ambiguous on the issue, but I do not think that students who do not live in the area should vote on the referendum because they don’t have a legitimate interest in the community,” Cifelli said.

The Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce, Terry Waters, said the Chamber does not take an official position on the vote but supports the right to hold the referendum.

“The Chamber has been supportive of the referendum and supports the right of the people to vote,” Robin Jenkins, communications director for the Chamber, said.