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(WBIR) Early voting dates for the August 7th election have been announced. Starting July 18th - August 2nd voters can cast their ballots for state and local offices. But while that's happening, it seems another issue is getting a lot of attention.

Workers are collecting signatures on petitions to add the sale of wine in grocery stores on the November 4th ballot.

"It would be a real pleasure. It takes me having to stop by Kroger and then go somewhere else that's kind of out of the way to get the wine. It's just time consuming," said Paul Loveday of Knoxville.

"I personally don't have an objection to it. I don't drink at all so whether they have it or they don't won't affect me, but I think it's fine if that's what everyone wants to do," said Lisa Willems also of Knoxville.

The Knox County Election Commission already has hundreds of petitions at its office. Administrator Clifford Rodgers said in order for the issue to be put on the ballot Knox County has to have approved 6,420 signatures, the City of Knoxville must have approved 3,377 signatures, and the Town of Farragut has to have 782 approved signatures.

Rodgers said so far his office has collected 358 pages for Knox County, 309 pages for the City of Knoxville, and two pages for the Town of Farragut. Each page could have 14 signatures.

But Rodgers said his office has to verify all of the signatures on every petition to make sure the person is an approved voter.

"We're in the process of getting some space down in the basement of the building. We've got to get it cleared out. We've finally got some computers so we don't have to take away from election inventory to log on there to check out the signatures of these voters to see if they are qualified to sign that particular petition," he said.

If a signature is denied, Rodgers' office has to explain why the signature is not valid. He said a common mistake his office sees is people who sign the Knox County petition when they are a registered voter for the City of Knoxville or the Town of Farragut and vice versa.

The deadline for turning in the petitions to the Knox County Elections Commission is August 21st. If an area has reached the number of signatures needed, the issue of selling wine in grocery stores will appear on the November 4th ballot.

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