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Politics

Coalition Urges November City Elections for Increased Turnout

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Photo by KUT

A coalition of Hispanic community groups wants Austin to hold its mayor and city council elections in November. 

The group, which calls itself Hispanic Advocates and Business Leaders of Austin, or HABLA, says delaying local races until November will make for a more inclusive election. Voters would go to the polls on the same day for national elections.

Paul Saldana, a spokesman for HABLA, points to turnout during May city elections in the past two decades, which averaged around 15 percent.

“[That's] compared to November election voter turnout, at almost 34 percent. So we feel, in essence, it would be a greater turnout and it would make sense to hold the election in November 2012,” said Saldana.

Delaying city elections would mean terms for some council members would have to be extended by several months.

The council could vote on next year’s city election date at its meetings tomorrow and Thursday.

Separately, the Austin Chamber of Commerce is urging Austin Community College to move its election date to November. In addition to increased turnout, Chamber vice president Drew Scheberle said in an email that ACC would save $300,000 by shifting the day of voting.

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