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November 2022 City of Austin Election: Voter Resource

Elections always have big implications and this upcoming election is no exception for the Austin community. In this resource, we have assembled our reporting on the $350 million affordable housing bond, the $2.44 billion equity-focused Austin ISD bond, and the $770 million ACC bond. The resource also includes profiles and video on the Austin mayoral candidates, and conversations and video recordings for each of the five Austin city council races. Our FAQs and Tools will give you key dates and information to make sure you feel prepared and fully ready to add your voice to this important election.  All that’s left is to go vote.

City of Austin Proposition A: Affordable Housing Bond

Ballot Language: The issuance of $350,000,000 in tax-supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, renovating, improving and equipping affordable housing facilities for low and moderate income persons and families, and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so, funding loans and grants for affordable housing, and funding affordable housing programs, as may be permitted by law; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.

Translation: If approved, this proposition would fund the creation, rehab and preservation of affordable housing in Austin to the tune of $350 million. The money, which would be funded by general obligation bonds, would be used on both rental properties and home ownership opportunities and the city could spend if on things like land acquisition, home repair programs and rental and ownership projects 

Related Articles: 

Advocates, Council members rally behind affordable housing bond

City Council votes to put $350 million affordable housing bond on November ballot

Austin ISD Propositions

Proposition A: General Purpose: $2,316,025,000

Proposition B: Technology: $75,541,000

Proposition C: Stadiums: $47,434,000

Translation: AISD’s $2.4 billion bond proposal is divided into three separate propositions due to state law. If approved, the money would fund capital projects like safety upgrades, repairs, construction and technology improvements. (A full list of the projects that would be funded is here and a map of the projects is here.) Unlike property taxes, bond dollars are not subject to recapture, so all of the approved funding will stay in Austin. However, the bond will impact property taxes — the city’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that taxes for the average homeowner will increase $55 per year to cover the bond.

 

 

Related Articles: 

‘I’m pretty speechless’: Austin ISD school board unanimously approves equity-focused bond

City of Austin, Mayor

Overview: Though technically Austin’s mayor does not have much more power than other City Council members, it is the only position elected by the entire city, which means there is a lot more attention on the office. This year, because the city voted to change election years to coincide with presidential races, the person elected to the office will only serve two years

Related Articles: 

Mayoral candidates outline plans to make housing more affordable

Kirk Watson, a ‘fixture’ of Central Texas, wants to be mayor again

Celia Israel seeks to be a progressive voice for Austin

Virden positions herself as the ‘common-sense’ candidate for mayor

Phil Brual, the UT Austin student running for mayor

Gary Spellman looks to disrupt Austin politics

Anthony Bradshaw wants ‘to see an Austin, Texas, that is successful’

Watch the Austin Monitor City Summit and KUT Mayoral Forum with all six candidates 

City of Austin, City Council, District 1

Overview: District 1 is one of the largest City Council districts, being bounded by Interstate 35, bumps up against Pflugerville on the north, SH 130 on the east and reaches down into the eastern parts of downtown and the University of Texas campus. This year, incumbent Natasha Harper-Madison faces off against three challengers.

Related Articles: 

Candidates for District 1 City Council seat chat with the ‘Monitor’

Watch our District 1 City Council forum

City of Austin, City Council, District 3

Overview: District 3 brings together three distinct neighborhoods – Central East Austin, Riverside and Far South Austin. This year, incumbent Pio Renteria is stepping down, leaving an open seat for the six candidates hoping to be the second representative elected to lead the district.

Related Articles: 

District 3 Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part I

District 3 Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part II

Watch our District 3 City Council forum

 

City of Austin, City Council, District 5

Overview: District 5 runs along South Lamar Boulevard, further south along Westgate Boulevard. Even further south, it takes a right turn and picks up the South Park area on the far south edge of town and wanders east across I-35 to the well-to-do Onion Creek Country Club area. This year, incumbent Ann Kitchen is retiring after running uncontested the last go-around. Six candidates hope to take her spot on the dais.

Related Articles: 

District 5 Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part I

District 5 Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part II

Watch our District 5 forum

City of Austin, City Council, District 8

Overview:District 8 contains three distinct neighborhoods, Oak Hill, Circle C and Travis Country. The district is bounded on the east by Brodie Lane, on the south by the Travis-Hays county line, on the north by Bee Cave road and on the west by the winding Austin city limits line. It also has the city’s biggest and most infamous traffic bottleneck – the Oak Hill Y. This year, incumbent Paige Ellis is facing three challengers for her seat.

Related Articles: 

District 8 City Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’

Watch our District 8 forum

City of Austin, City Council, District 9

Overview: District 9, which is only 12 square miles in size, is bordered by MoPac and Lamar boulevards on the west, Manor Road and Interstate 35 on the east, Oltorf Street on the south and 51st Street on the north. District 9 includes most of downtown and the University of Texas campus but does not include the Capitol or most of the state office complex. Residential neighborhoods include Bouldin and Travis heights to the south, Clarksville and Hyde Park on the north and Cherrywood and Mueller on the east. This year, with incumbent Kathie Tovo stepping aside, District 9 is also home to the most crowded City Council race — with eight candidates competing against each other for the chance to serve the district.

Related Articles: 

District 9 City Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part I

District 9 Council candidates chat with the ‘Monitor’: Part II

Watch our District 9 forum

Campaign Finance

ACC District Proposition A

Voter FAQs and Tools

Key Dates

Where do I vote in person? 

In Travis County, registered voters may cast their ballots at any voting location, both during early voting and on election day. You can find a list of those locations and voting times on the website of the Travis County Clerk’s Office. While the election is underway, the clerk’s office also hosts a map that includes wait times at locations.

What do I need to know on voting day?

In order to cast a ballot, residents must be registered to vote, which can be confirmed online. Texans not previously registered can do so online, though that must be done 30 days before the election date and printed applications must be mailed.

In general, voters in Texas must bring photo ID to the polls. Under these rules, a photo ID can be a Texas driver’s license, Texas election identification certificate, Texas personal identification card, Texas handgun license, U.S. military card (with a photo), U.S. citizenship certificate (with a photo), or U.S. passport. Voters aged 18-69 may use a form of ID that is expired, if that expiration date is four years old or less. Voters 70 and older may use IDs that have expired more than four years ago. Registered voters who are not able to obtain a photo ID may vote by signing a Voter’s Declaration of Reasonable Impediment or Difficulty along with providing a non-photo ID that includes their address.

A number of common-sense rules tend to be posted at polling locations. This memo from the Texas director of elections does a good job of running through those rules. In short: firearms, electioneering, collecting signatures on a petition and wireless devices are not allowed within the 100-foot markers at each polling location. Electioneering is actively campaigning for something on the ballot, and that 100-foot perimeter expands to 1,000 feet if you are doing it via amplified sound. Wireless devices include cell phones, cameras, tablets, laptops and sound recorders. However, some exceptions are made for people with disabilities.

How do I decide how to vote?

How you vote is your decision, but there are several ways to get informed about the issues that will be on the ballot. In addition to our coverage of the election, several outlets around town have information on the election. (Note: The Austin Monitor does not endorse any of these endorsements, though we do read them.)

Endorsements (as they become available)

Guides (as they become available)

Why should I vote?

Austin has a great record when it comes to voter registration; more than 97 percent of Travis County residents are registered to vote. However, we tend to fall short when it comes to local elections.

We generally do OK in presidential elections. In Travis County, the November 2020 election saw turnout just slightly over 71 percent of all registered voters.

But in May 2019, only 6 percent of registered voters in Travis County bothered to vote.
Local elections have the potential to fundamentally change the way Austin operates, and a strong democracy relies on voter participation.

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