A campaign is underway to gather enough signatures to put an alcohol proposition on the November ballot for the sale of beer and wine in Smith County Precinct 4.

A pro-development group in Smith County began circulating petitions Friday. The committee must gather the required number of signatures by July 16 to have this issue placed on the November ballot.

Smith County officials will then have 30 days to verify the signatures before the petitions must be presented at the next regular meeting of the Smith County Commissioners Court. If the required number of valid signatures has been reached, officials are required to put the local option on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The Smith County group needs to collect approximately 1,800 signatures of registered Smith County JP 4 voters.

The petition allows a vote for the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.

This will only allow beer and wine sales in businesses such as grocery and convenience stores but will not allow additional package liquor sales or liquor stores.  Voters in JP 4 already approved on-premise alcohol sales in restaurants in 2009.  The last beer-wine off-premise election was held in 2010, where the effort came up short by 51 votes out of more than 4,600 ballots cast.  Since then, the City of Tyler and Justice Precinct 2 voted over 64% to approve beer and wine off-premise sales.

“We are asking the voters of JP 4 to level the playing field because businesses that were not included in the recent Tyler election and businesses that are not allowed to sell alcohol are facing competition from retailers who can.  This puts JP 4 businesses at a disadvantage and we ask the citizens to sign the petition so the voters can decide the issue in November,” noted Robert Patterson, Deputy Treasurer of the Buy Smith County Committee.

Smith County JP4 includes most of the Tyler city limits, as well as an area to the west and north of Tyler in Smith County.