DENVER – A statewide ballot measure that could bring wine to the shelves of grocery stores remains too close to call and could be headed for an automatic recount.
Proposition 125 would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine.
Of the 2.3 million ballots that had been counted by Sunday, support for Proposition 125 was leading by about 14,300 votes, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
As of Sunday morning, 96% of precincts across the state were reporting results.
Opponents of Proposition 125, including most liquor store owners, say if it passes, it will devastate their businesses.
They said they have already compromised enough with grocery retailers.
“For my business, this would be very devastating,” said Carolyn Joy, owner of Joy Wine and Spirits in Denver. “They've already had a huge impact on our beer sales, and I know it would have a huge impact on my wine sales.”
Supporters of Proposition 125, which include large grocery chains, said it would provide shoppers with much-needed convenience.
“Thirty-seven other states have wine in grocery stores,” said Michelle Lyng, spokesperson for Wine in Grocery Stores. “It’s a very small change. It would put us in line with the vast majority of the United States.”
On Sunday, liquor store owners like Bruce Gallagher were still on pins and needles waiting for the final results.
“I really truly hope it doesn't pass because that's going to be detrimental to hundreds of mom-and-pop small local liquor stores that are grocery anchored,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher, who owns Bonnie Brae Liquor, said he’s not afraid of competition.
“I don't think anybody's afraid of competition. I've got lots of competition,” said Gallagher. “But what I don't like is when the playing field is completely unlevel.”
Denver7 discovered Colorado law requires an automatic recount if the final margin in an election is less than or equal to half a percentage point.
As of Sunday morning, the secretary of state’s website shows the margin was just outside that range at 0.6%, with more votes left to count.
A majority of voters in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas counties voted in favor of Proposition 125.
A narrow majority of voters in Boulder and Jefferson counties voted against the measure.
But with more votes to count, and possibly a recount looming, the fate of Proposition 125 remains unclear.