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Liquor petition organizers rechecking names

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PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) — A group that circulated a petition in Philadelphia calling for an election on liquor says it has collected about 1,000 names.

Jeremy Chalmers, spokesman for Philadelphia For a Vote, told the Neshoba Democrat (http://bit.ly/VTKEhN) that organizers are rechecking the signatures before giving the petition to the city. The city clerk would then verify whether the petition signers as registered voters.

Thirty days' notice must be given to qualified electors of the proposed election.

The Philadelphia For a Vote group hopes to have the issue on the ballot during the May city primaries.

Chalmers said extra signatures are being solicited in case some non-registered voters signed the petition.

A new state law allows city-only votes on liquor. Previously, all liquor votes in Mississippi have been county-wide, even though liquor and wine can be sold only within municipal boundaries.

Liquor and wine are available in Neshoba County at the casinos operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

If the liquor issue passes, Philadelphia's governing body will decide whether to allow only restaurant sales by the glass or package stores as well.

Several cities have held liquor elections. Voters in New Albany will decide the issue on March 19. Voters in Corinth and Senatobia recently approved liquor sales, which Ashland voters defeated it.

Mississippi was the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment establishing prohibition, and was the last to repeal prohibition, a full 33 years after the federal amendment was struck.

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Information from: Neshoba Democrat, http://www.neshobademocrat.com

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