Props D and E pass, changing how Austin elections work

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Voting line at the Randall's on Gattis School Road in Williamson County Nov. 3, 2020 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

Voting line at the Randall’s on Gattis School Road in Williamson County Nov. 3, 2020 (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Propositions on the May 1 ballot are pushing to enact changes to how Austin runs its election cycle. 

Proposition D passed with 66.5%, at 102,070 vs. 51,501.

It aims to change the date of mayoral elections to presidential election years. Currently, election for Austin’s mayor happen every four years, when Texans elect a governor. If successful, there would be one more midterm mayoral election in 2022, but the winner would be up for reelection just two years later.

Proposition E also passed with 57.9%, at 87,516 vs. 63,510. It would allow voters to pick their top candidate and rank up to five others on their ballot. If a top-picked candidate doesn’t get enough votes, it defaults to the voter’s second choice.  This proposition avoids runoff elections because the candidate with the most voter support wins. There is a question about whether this proposition is legal under Texas law, but, if passed, Austin would be ready as soon as Texas allows it.

Proposition H failed with 65,481 for vs. 87,665 against. It would have given voters $25 “Democracy Dollar” vouchers to donate to the candidate of their choice. These vouchers would be taxpayer-funded. Currently, campaign financing allows people to contribute up to $300 in private donations per candidate. 

These ballot measures are among those put forth by Austinites for Progressive Reform, which also included Austin Proposition F. The group says Austinites should consider Propositions D-H together as a comprehensive expansion to voter participation and accountability.

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