The people have spoken: They want more places to buy alcohol.

In Marple, Lansdowne, and Aldan in Delaware County, and West Marlborough and Franklin Townships in Chester County, voters in Tuesday’s primary election replied with a resounding “yes” to referendum questions about expanding their town’s liquor laws.

In Marple, one of 12 completely or partially dry towns in Delaware County, more than 3,600 people answered the question on their ballots, and more than 2,300 of them voted in favor, according to Delaware County election results.

A beer-only distributor on Sproul Road in Broomall.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
A beer-only distributor on Sproul Road in Broomall.

Previously, beer distributors and State Stores were permitted in Marple, a township of nearly 24,000 people, but restaurants, grocery stores, and other locations couldn’t sell liquor or beer, with the exception of a restaurant in a township-run country club, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

A Giant supermarket in the township’s Broomall section had been instrumental in circulating a petition to get the referendum question on the ballot, with a company spokesperson saying Giant wanted to sell liquor at a future store in the area.

Broomall, with its quaint business district, is the best-known section of Marple Township.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Broomall, with its quaint business district, is the best-known section of Marple Township.

Lansdowne, a borough of 10,000, and Aldan, a borough of 4,000, allowed only the sale of liquor and beer at retail stores as well as at the Lansdowne Theater. In Aldan, there were twice as many “yes” voters than “no” voters. In Lansdowne, nearly 1,600 voted in favor and fewer than 400 were opposed.

In Chester County, which has 20 completely or partially dry towns, residents of Franklin and West Marlborough Townships may also soon have more options for imbibing.

About 78 percent of voters in Franklin, a township of more than 4,000, approved expanding liquor licenses, according to Chester County election results. In West Marlborough, a township of only 800, about 68 percent of voters (91 people) were in favor.

Ricardo Campus, a server and bartender at the 320 Market bottleshop in Swarthmore, PA brings single cans of craft beer to the front of the case.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Ricardo Campus, a server and bartender at the 320 Market bottleshop in Swarthmore, PA brings single cans of craft beer to the front of the case.

Since Prohibition, West Marlborough has allowed only the sale of liquor at retail stores, according to LCB data, and Franklin allowed the sale of retail liquor and beer. In the 1960s, Franklin residents voted to permit beer distributors, too.

The State Liquor Code requires a question be voted on in any type of election before a town can change its liquor laws. In order for a referendum question to get on the ballot, residents must submit a petition with signatures equal to at least 25 percent of the highest vote cast for any office in town in the previous general election. The questions appear on both Democratic and Republican ballots.

Since both Delaware and Chester Counties are already over their liquor-license quotas (generally, one license per 3,000 residents, according to the LCB), residents shouldn’t expect to see an immediate, noticeable effect from these referendums. If a business wants to sell liquor in one of these towns, it will likely have to get an existing license transferred from another establishment in their county.