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Election Day Is Today. Here's What Austin Voters Need To Know.

Voters enter and exit a polling place in Austin.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
Early voting starts April 19, and Election Day is May 1.

Lee esta historia en español.

This election Austin voters have the chance to decide on eight propositions that would impact the city’s homelessness policies, the role of the mayor in city government, how local elections work and more.

Election Day is Saturday, May 1.

Make Sure You’re Registered.

Go to this Texas Secretary of State website to check your registration status. The deadline to register to vote was April 1.

Here’s Where To Go.

You must vote in the county where you live. Travis County residents can vote at any one of the locations below from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Williamson County residents can find voting locations here. Hays County residents can find locations here.

Don’t Forget Your ID.

Make sure to bring a photo ID. The ID should be up to date or expired up to four years. Voters 70 or older can bring a photo ID that has been expired for any length of time.

If you had trouble getting an ID and can’t get one, here are some alternatives:

  • government document showing your name and an address, such as your voter registration certificate
  • current utility bill
  • bank statement
  • government check
  • paycheck
  • birth certificate

If you use one of these, you’ll have to sign a form that says you had a reasonable impediment to getting an ID.

What’s On The Ballot?

Austin voters have eight propositions on the ballot, including proposals to switch to a “strong-mayor” system of government, implement ranked-choice voting and add another council district.

Watch KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy and Andrew Weber discuss some of these measures.

Proposition A

Proposition A would require the city and the Austin Fire Department's local union to enter into arbitration if they can't hammer out an agreement over labor contracts.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to give the Austin Firefighters Association, Local 975 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the authority to require the City to participate in binding arbitration of all issues in dispute with the Association if the City and the Association reach impasse in collective bargaining negotiations?

Proposition B

Proposition B stems from Save Austin Now's petition to revert to the city's former rules surrounding homelessness.

Those rules banned camping in public without a permit, restricted sitting or lying down in public downtown and in UT's West Campus, and prohibited where and when people can panhandle. The group, helmed by Travis County GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak, has been an ardent opponent to the city's general handling of homelessness since City Council effectively allowed public encampments back in June 2019.

Austin's approach to homelessness has been a lightning rod since the city amended its polices. Supporters of the current rules say they decriminalize homelessness and cut down on tickets that could become obstacles to Austinites trying to transition out of homelessness. Save Austin Now, Gov. Greg Abbott and other detractors say the policies led to increased public health and safety issues as camps have cropped up throughout Austin.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall an ordinance be adopted that would create a criminal offense and a penalty for sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in and near the Downtown area and the area around the University of Texas campus; create a criminal offense and penalty for solicitation, defined as requesting money or another thing of value, at specific hours and locations or for solicitation in a public area that is deemed aggressive in manner; create a criminal offense and penalty for camping in any public area not designated by the Parks and Recreation Department?

Proposition C

Council Member Greg Casar proposed this amendment that would remove the Office of Police Oversight out from under the city manager. Casar argues it would give the office greater latitude to hold the city more accountable, like the City Auditor's Office currently does. The proposition wouldn't immediately do so, however. If approved, the proposition would set up a framework for the independent office led by an appointed director.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the city charter be amended to allow for a Director of Police Oversight to be appointed or removed in a manner established by City Council ordinance, with duties that include the responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability as it relates to policing?

Proposition D

Proposition D asks voters if they want to move mayoral elections to coincide with presidential elections starting in 2024. So, whomever is elected after Mayor Steve Adler's term expires in 2022 would serve a two-year term, and then another election would be held in 2024, if the proposition passes.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to transition the election for mayor from gubernatorial election years to presidential election years, providing that the mayor elected in 2022 will serve a 2-year term and then mayoral elections will occur on the same date as presidential elections starting in 2024?

Proposition E

Proposition E would shift city elections from winner-take-all to a ranked-choice system, where voters rank the candidates rather than choosing just one.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to provide for the use of ranked choice voting in city elections, if such voting is permitted by state law?

Proposition F

Under Austin's current system of political power-sharing, the city manager is the highest executive in city government, but isn't elected by voters.

Proposition F would remove that position entirely and consolidate that power within the mayor's office. The mayor would be a nonvoting member of City Council, but could veto its decisions. Eight council members could override any veto.

Here’s what you’ll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to change the form of city government from 'council-manager' to 'strong mayor-council', which will eliminate the position of professional city manager and designate an elected mayor as the chief administrative and executive officer of the city with veto power over all legislation which includes the budget; and with sole authority to hire and fire most department heads and direct staff; and with no articulated or stated charter authority to require the mayor to implement Council decisions?

Proposition G

Proposition G would establish another City Council district in an effort to offset a potential loss of a vote under a strong-mayor system.

If this passes and the strong-mayor proposition fails, or vice versa, that would mean the City Council would have an even number of representatives on the dais, which could result in stalemates. Additionally, if the strong-mayor proposition succeeds and the creation of a new district fails, it would give council members fewer votes to override a possible veto.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to provide for an additional geographic council district which will result in 11 council members elected from single member districts?

Proposition H

Proposition H could provide up to two $25 vouchers that any registered voter in Austin could then apply to a candidate of their choice.

Here's what you'll see on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to adopt a public campaign finance program, which requires the city clerk to provide up to two $25 vouchers to every registered voter who may contribute them to candidates for city office who meet the program requirements?

Other Ballot Items

There are also some school district, emergency service district and municipal utility district elections on the ballot. Travis County voters can go to VoteTravis.com to see what exactly will be on their ballot. Fill out the Voter Lookup section and hit “Look Me Up.” Then an option to “View My Ballot” will appear.

Williamson County residents can look up their ballots here. And here’s a sample ballot for Austin residents in Hays County.

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