A 68 percent majority of Statesboro voters, in the so-called brunch referendum, approved letting restaurants in the city limits serve alcoholic beverages 90 minutes earlier on Sundays.
The vote count Tuesday night was 2,633 “yes” to 1,253 “no” to make 11 a.m. the start time for Sunday alcoholic drink service in restaurants. The previous start time was 12:30 p.m.
The referendum was Statesboro City Council’s initiative under the so-called Brunch Bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly in March and signed May 8 by Gov. Nathan Deal. The referendum does not affect the hours that stores can sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption.
“You know what? We put it on the ballot and let the voters decide, and what better way to do this than democracy,” City Councilman Phil Boyum said in an earlier interview.
He made the motion in August to put the question on a city special election ballot. Council members, who passed the call for election 5-0, had heard requests from restaurant owners.
Although the city referendum was offered in the same locations as Bulloch County’s early voting in the general election, on Tuesday brunch referendum voters had to vote in their assigned city precinct, at either the William James Educational Complex or Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
Voter turnout for the city referendum was a little less than 30 percent, compared to Bulloch County’s nearly 60 percent turnout for the general election.