In an effort to ward off a costly special election in May, members of Philadelphia For a Vote said they plan to present their liquor petition to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen in time for it to appear on the general election ballot in June.

Initially, the group had hoped the liquor referendum would be on party primary ballots in May, but spokesperson Jeremy Chalmers said the law requires a separate ballot which would be an added expense.

It would cost the city more money to create extra ballots for both Republican and Democratic voters, Chalmers said.

The law, however, does allow the referendum to appear on the June 4 general election ballot under the wording "special election," he said.

Philadelphia For a Vote has obtained over 1,000 signatures of qualified voters needed to call for a liquor referendum, Chalmers said, noting that the group plans to file the petition with the city board in time for the June election.

Chalmers expects voters to pass the referendum "overwhelmingly."

Once the city clerk's office has verified the signatures on the petition, voters most be given 30 days notice of the special election.

Last year, the state Legislature passed a law which allows citizens in municipalities with populations of at least 5,000 to present a petition to a city board, calling for a vote on the alcohol issue.

Should an election be ordered, the new law outlines the wording that would appear on the ballot: "For the legal sale of alcoholic liquors" or "Against the legal sale of alcoholic liquors."

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

The board could restrict the sale to restaurants and/or allow it to be sold in package stores.

Under the new law, residents of the county would not have a vote on the referendum.

The old law required liquor elections to be countywide even though liquor can be sold only within municipal boundaries.

Recently, voters in Corinth overwhelmingly approved the sale of liquor and wine in the first election under the new state law.