The U. S. Department of Justice has granted pre-clearance on a bill that would allow cities like Philadelphia with populations of at least 5,000 to call for a vote on legalizing liquor sales.

Under the new law, an election can be ordered by the Board of Aldermen upon the presentation of a petition containing at least 20 percent of the duly qualified voters asking that city residents be allowed to vote for or against the sale of liquor within the city limits.

If voters approve the sale of liquor, it would be up to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to set guidelines.

The board could approve the sale of liquor and wine by the glass in restaurants and/or allow it to be sold in package stores.

Petitions are available at Harold's on Holland Avenue and Kademi on Center Avenue as well as on the website at www.philadelphiaforavote.com.

There is also a Facebook page with the same name.