Voting

Restaurateurs in Rome will now have the option of offering alcoholic beverage sales as early as 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Voters passed the measure with a 65.39% margin — 1,925 cast a vote for the bill and 1,019 voted against.

The “Brunch Bill” referendum was born out of legislation by the Georgia General Assembly in March of last year allowing communities to decide to push back the pour-time from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m. It does not apply to liquor stores.

Many local business owners were lukewarm on the bill. In an earlier report, several restaurateurs said they might get a few more sales but didn’t think there would be a noticeable increase in revenue.

Efforts to pass similar legislation have been floating through the halls of the state Capitol since 2016, when the Georgia Restaurant Association presented a study indicating that restaurants could generate as much as $25,000 a year from the earlier sales.

Despite weeks of early voting available, as well as one weekend of early voting, this election was marked by a very low turnout — which is the norm in many local elections.

Only 15.91% of registered voters turned out in this election. Of the 19,231 registered voters in Rome precincts, only 2,944 ballots were cast.

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