With more than 65 percent of Erath County voters favoring making the county wet, many people are left wondering what happens next.

Residents, however, might be surprised to learn that beer and wine sold in local grocery and convenience stores will not be available as soon they hoped.

The Texas Secretary of State Web site says if voters approve legalizing alcohol sales, the legalization will take effect as soon as the results of the election are officially canvassed. Erath County Commissioner’s Court is set to canvass the election results during a special meeting on Nov. 13.

The county clerk or city secretary will then certify the results to the secretary of state and to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) within three days after the canvass.

Carolyn Beck, public information officer for TABC, said voters shouldn’t expect to see beer and wine on store shelves for at least a couple of months.

“You can’t sell alcoholic beverages without a permit,” Beck said. “I can’t tell you how long it will take, but it will take at least 60 days for a place that has never sold alcohol before.”

Beck said once the votes have been canvassed and certified, the county’s wet/dry status officially changes, allowing storeowners to apply for permits.

If an establishment has not sold alcohol in the past, a sign must be posted for 60 days announcing the store has applied for a permit.

Beck said the timeframe could take longer if information on the application is incorrect or incomplete. Then county and city officials must certify the permit before the store can legally sell beer or wine.