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Wilton Votes Down Beer Sales in Grocery Stores

WILTON, Conn. – Wilton residents have had their say: Beer will not be sold in the town's grocery stores.

The result of Tuesday's election was 1,525 votes against and 1,153 votes for, a difference of only 372. Amy Murphy, director of Communications for Stop & Shop, said the company was disappointed with the decision to not allow beer sales in their stores.

It was a turnaround from what had been expected. Selectman Ted Hoffstatter, who won his bid for re-election, had told The Daily Wilton he expected the question to pass. In 2009, Wilton ended its days as a dry town after voting to allow liquor stores in town, with 2,363 for vote and 1,801 against.

Turnout was low — not even the question of selling beer in grocery stores brought Wilton many voters to the polls Tuesday. Only 25 percent — 2,754 out of 11,028 eligible voters — came out for the 2011 municipal election, a decline from the 2009 vote.

Voters said they were confused as to why there were no contested elections.

“I wanted a choice,” said Kirby Ward. “There are a lot of Republicans on the ballot. It says choose three, and there is only one alternate choice.”

Ward voted to allow beer in the grocery stores. He is from California and said purchasing beer in food stores is not unusual. “Grocery stores are a convenience,” Ward said. “I think that (liquor stores) are different. They’re stores are on a completely different level.”

Laurie Collins disagreed. She voted against allowing grocery stores to sell beer. “I like to support the new wine and liquor stores in town. I want them to be successful.”

However, when it came to the regular ballot, she agreed with Ward. “There weren’t very many contests when there was a choice,” Collins said.

Katherine Armstrong, a Wilton resident of five years, said she wanted a choice. “But on the other hand I think, especially for local positions, these are people who have stepped up to the plate to volunteer and I just appreciate anyone who stepped up to the plate to do something for the town,” Armstrong said.

All the candidates who ran in this year’s election, including incumbent First Selectman Bill Brennan, won because they faced no competition.

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