What Questions Do You Have About Proposition B On Austin's Ballot This Election?
May elections in Austin are typically pretty sleepy affairs; they don't often raise hackles.
But this May is different. This election is different.
Austinites are deciding a handful of propositions that could fundamentally change the way city government functions, but the marquee ballot measure this go-around is Proposition B — a proposition that would reinstate criminal penalties for behavior related to homelessness.
It's an issue that's driven voter turnout to levels not seen in years. In just four days of early voting, Travis County surpassed turnout in the 2018, 2017, 2015 and 2014 May elections combined, according to County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir.
DeBeauvoir told KUT Prop B is "definitely driving" that turnout, and that it'll likely eclipse the turnout in the last headline-grabbing city election: the vote on ride-hailing regulations in 2016.
Supporters say passing Prop B would make Austin safe, that the proliferation of encampments over the past two years has led to health and safety hazards. They argue Austin's policies surrounding homelessness have changed the city — that Austin's not the city they knew or loved or grew up in.
Opponents say the penalties — which result in tickets and arrest warrants — are akin to kicking someone when they're down; that they don't meaningfully address the issue of housing homeless folks; and that the effort to get this wedge issue on the ballot has been spurred by Republicans targeting liberal-leaning Austin.
It's not our job to tell you how to feel about this or any issue. It's our job to inform you to the best of our abilities. You can take it from there.
But we've noticed a lot of neighbors and friends asking simple questions about this not-so-simple issue. We want to answer those questions.
So, ask away, and we'll answer as best we can, so you can vote with confidence — whichever side you're on.
If you do not see a form below, please click here to submit your question.