Smith County administers the election and counted the votes, but state law requires members to canvass the vote to make them official.
According to the official tally, voters within the city limits approved Proposition 1, which expanded mixed beverage sales, 23,573 votes to 8,801 votes. Proposition 2, which legalized the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption, passed 21,977 votes to 11,087 votes.
Approval by the city now opens up the process for businesses to begin the beverage application process with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Applications in the city also must be approved by the county and state comptroller before the application goes to the beverage commission, said Loretta Green, the commission's regional licensing supervisor,
Cities usually check to make sure businesses comply with ordinances before signing off on the application, she said. Ms. Green said the application and permitting process typically averages between 45 to 60 days after votes are canvassed.
The city already has approved ordinances, which will regulate signage and distances from churches and schools.
Mayor Barbara Bass said the city's Planning and Zoning Department will be handling the permitting process and that she is not aware of businesses making early contact with its personnel.
Before the unanimous vote, city attorney Gary Landers told council members the vote to canvass, or “or accept them as official results,” is required by law and that it “adds your credibility that this was a fair election.”
Two residents have filed a petition to challenge the election results in Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 and the city. Stand Strong for Tyler member and Landmark Baptist Church Pastor Mike Daniels said the election results were a “farce” and he had lost all faith in the election process because the city and county failed to throw out petitions required for the proposals to be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Daniels blames the city council and county commissioners for ignoring concerns that petition gatherers hired by the pro-alcohol interests turned in enough fraudulent signatures to invalidate the entire process.
A hearing has yet to be set regarding the election challenge. An attempt to stop the local-option beverage election via temporary injunction was thrown out by a visiting judge Nov. 5.