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Calls For Looser Liquor Laws Spread Across NWA

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Groups in Benton and Madison counties, and residents in Springdale and Tontitown are petitioning to get alcohol measures on the November ballot.

The Springdale Liquor Association filed a petition Monday with the city clerk's office to put Sunday alcohol sales to a public vote.

The Springdale City Clerk's office is gathering resources to validate signatures within the required 10-day time frame. They will then forward the signatures to the Washington County Clerk for final certification.

"We're working pretty hard. There's five in my office that are checking signatures," Denise Pearce, city clerk, said.

The clerk’s office has to verify at least 1,558 signatures of registered Springdale voters for the measure to move forward. The liquor association submitted about 2,400 signatures.

However, Pearce said that there are challenges when counting hundreds of signatures.

"We're finding that a lot of them are not registered voters in the city of Springdale, and a lot of them, we can't read their writing," Pearce said.

Springdale isn't the only place in Northwest Arkansas where alcohol issues are being taken to the public. It's also happening in Benton and Madison counties, as well as Tontitown.

Benton County voters will vote on whether or not they want to stay a dry county.

A Madison County group turned in 3,500 signatures to the clerk’s office Wednesday. The county clerk has 10 days to verify the petition to allow voters to decide whether Madison County should stay a dry county.

Voters said alcohol sales initiatives boil down to finances.

"They are going to make some coin, so they all want to be on the wagon at the same time," said David Chrystall, from Rogers.

"It's money. It's revenue," said Jeff Barringer, who lives in Lowell.

Barringer said it's important to get the chance to vote.

"We are supposed to decide. The people are supposed to decide," Barringer said.

The Springdale City Clerk has until Aug. 16 to verify the petition's signatures. Pearce said she expects her office to validate the signatures before this weekend.

Tontitown officials verified residents' petition to allow Sunday alcohol sales and turned the signatures in to the county clerk's office Tuesday.