Wichita Liquor and convenience stores in the state's largest city can start selling alcohol on Sundays after an attempt to force a citywide vote on the measure failed this week.
While the Wichita City Council approved the expanded sales in April, opponents tried to force a citywide vote to keep Sundays dry.
About 8,170 petition signatures were submitted, but Sedgwick County elections officials only accepted 4,200 as valid. To force a vote, 6,701 valid signatures were needed.
Elections Commissioner Bill Gale said some of the invalid signatures came from people who either don't live in Wichita or weren't registered voters. Others had discrepancies between voter registration information and what was on the petition, he said.
"We did everything that we were supposed to do," said Wade Moore, the pastor of Christian Faith Centre, who led the effort. "I just wish more people had gotten out and gotten behind it."
In Kansas, cities and counties have been allowed to approve Sunday alcohol sales since 2005, but the issue can be pushed to a public vote if opponents gather enough signatures.
More than 50 cities approved full-week sales by 2006. However, the serious discussion about the issue didn't surface in Wichita until last fall.
In Wichita, liquor stores and retailers will be able to sell packaged alcoholic beverages from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Alcohol sales still won't be allowed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Some store owners said they hope the expanded sales will improve business and keep fewer people from driving outside city limits to spend money on Sunday liquor.
"It's good for the customers; it's good for Wichita," said Ron Groves, a vocal supporter of Sunday sales and owner of Groves Discount Wine & Liquor.