The option to bring beer and wine sales closer to home is now in the hands of voters in Tyler.
Two verified petitions were approved by the city council for the November ballot. An opposition group asked the council for more time to finish their own verification process, but the council denied their request.
"We're just asking for more time to verify the signatures. If they are accurate, if they are registered voters, they have the numbers then by all means this goes to the election in November," said Norman Ladd, the attorney hired by Stand Strong for Tyler.
But according to the Texas Election Code, the city council was required to vote at the next regular session, scheduled for Wednesday morning.
"The council was required to call the election," said city attorney Gary Landers.
One petition allows the off-premise sale of beer and wine within the city. The second legalizes the sale of mixed beverages in Tyler restaurants. According to the city, petition one had 445 more signatures than the required number to call an election. Petition two met the city's requirements with an extra 248 signatures.
But Stand Strong for Tyler says the city has verified fraudulent signatures.
"People are voting from beyond the grave, people are voting early and voting often, people who are in Beaumont, Texas that are voting in this election; they shouldn't be there and these are real issues that we have with them," Ladd said.
"Through the first thirty pages we identified 13 individuals who were verified by the city staff here that should not have been. When you extrapolate the math on that, it can end up disqualifying a lot of people," said Stand Strong for Tyler supporter Billy Horton.
Stand Strong for Tyler gave us a few names verified by the city that they found to be fraudulent. For example, Gloria Crawford signed the petition on May 9, but according to a local funeral home, she died two weeks before supposedly signing this petition.
"I don't claim that our process is perfect and I wouldn't for a moment claim that someone looking at it would disagree," Landers said.
Landers said there can be a few errors because there is enough cushion for him to feel comfortable putting it on the ballot.
However, if Stand Strong for Tyler does identify enough errors they can file an injunction to delay the election.
"I think the city council always has the authority to correct a decision they've made if it turns out that decision was based on fraudulent information or illegal information that somebody provided."
Stand Strong for Tyler said they will continue to verify the signatures to ensure there are enough to be on the ballot.
Saturday, May 25 2013 3:05 PM EDT2013-05-25 19:05:48 GMT
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