Austin Sued Over Wording Of Ballot Question For City Audit

Aug 13, 2018

An Austin resident, represented by attorney Bill Aleshire, is suing the city over the wording of a November ballot measure about a citywide audit.

Activists collected more than 30,000 signatures asking the city to hire a third party to conduct an efficiency audit of all its departments. Austin City Council members voted Thursday to put the question to voters.

But supporters of the audit said the city's ballot language is biased and would cause people to vote against the measure.

The lawsuit filed with the Texas Supreme Court on Monday also cites the ballot wording's mention of the current auditor, implying she could do the audit rather than a third party. Aleshire cited an email where the city auditor said she typically doesn't perform audits like this.

The suit also claims the estimated cost for the audit noted in the ballot question – $1 million to 5 million – is “misleading.”

Aleshire wants the court to force the city to rewrite the language before Aug. 20. 

Correction: A previous version of the story said the attorney was suing the City of Austin. He is just representing a resident.