It's Election Day. Here's What You Need to Know About Austin's Uber/Lyft Question.

May 7, 2016

Austin voters head to the polls today to vote on the question known as Proposition 1, which deals with regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. Only people who live inside the Austin city limits and are already registered to vote will be able to cast a ballot on this issue.  

You've probably heard something about the ballot measure, but if you're not fully up to speed, we've arranged this handy guide.

What's on the ballot?

You'll be asked whether you're for or against an ordinance that would change how ride-hailing companies are regulated in Austin.

Read the full ordinance here.

Ballot language as seen on a sample ballot from the Travis County Elections office.

In December, the Austin City Council passed a new set of rules that are technically in effect right now, though some elements are not being enforced yet. Those new rules include requiring fingerprint background checks for ride-hailing drivers. Uber and Lyft have said they will not operate under those rules. Early this year, the companies funded a political action committee to start a petition calling for overturning the new rules. The PAC submitted more than 20,000 signatures to the city clerk's office - more than enough to force council to take a vote on the PAC's proposed rules. The Austin City Council voted those rules down, which automatically put the issue to voters.

The ordinance on the ballot would remove the fingerprint requirement, and instead require the name-based background checks that ride-hailing companies have been doing since their services were legalized in Austin in 2014 (more on those background checks here). 

Both Uber and Lyft have said they will not continue to operate in Austin under the fingerprinting rules.

Other issues covered by the ordinance include fees paid to the city and "trade dress." You can find a full breakdown of exactly what the ordinance on the ballot would do here.

If you want to hear from folks on either side of the argument, check out the debate we hosted with the Austin Monitor on April 14.

Where can I vote?
In Travis County, you can vote at any open polling place on Election Day.

Here's a map of all the voting locations that are open on Saturday, May 7.

All voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What do I need to bring when I go vote? 
You will need a photo ID. The Texas Secretary of State's office has more information on this here (or try here English / Spanish), but in general this is the complete list of acceptable forms of ID:  

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate, issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification card, issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun, issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person's photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
  • United States passport

For more information on how to obtain an Election Identification Certificate from DPS, visit their website. If you do not have any of those forms of ID, you may cast a provisional ballot. From the Secretary of State's Office FAQ:

However, in order to have the provisional ballot counted, the voter will be required to visit the voter registrar’s office within six calendar days of the date of the election to either present one of the above forms of photo ID OR submit one of the temporary affidavits addressed below (e.g., religious objection or natural disaster) in the presence of the county voter registrar while attesting to the fact that he or she does not have any of the required photo IDs.

I’ve moved recently. Do I need to register again?
Depends on where you moved from. If your move stayed within Travis County and you were already registered to vote, all you'll need to do is fill out a form at your polling location stating that you’ve changed your address, and you’ll be able to vote. This only applies to voters registered within Travis County. Those who moved from other counties to Travis County will have to re-register.

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