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Looking at the numbers in Austin’s vote

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Jo Clifton

According to unofficial results released by County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir early Wednesday morning, Mayor Steve Adler won re-election with more than 59 percent of the vote. There were 297,687 votes cast for all mayoral candidates. And yet, Propositions J and K, even though they were at the bottom of the ballot, attracted considerably more voters. The anti-CodeNEXT proposal, Prop J, attracted a total of 337,837 voters, with more than 52 percent voting no. Proposition K would have required a citywide audit and cost the city an estimated $1 million-$5 million. Although Prop K seemed to attract more paid publicity, most Democratic groups urged their members to reject it, and 57.71 percent of those voting did, with a total of 299,399 voters making a selection on the last item on the ballot. The Austin Monitor asked Peck Young, director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, to explain why more people voted on those propositions than voted in the mayor’s race, which was at the top of the city ballot. He explained that most people thought Adler would easily win, making that race considerably less interesting than the propositions. We also observed that more people voted for District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen (29,230) than voted in Districts 1 and 3, even though Kitchen was running unopposed. District 5 includes a broad swath of South Austin. In 2010, the year of the last census, 19 percent of people in the district were under age 18. At the same time, about 22 percent of residents of District 3 were under age 18 and approximately 27 percent of District 1 residents were under voting age. In District 9, incumbent Council Member Kathie Tovo easily won re-election with 36,885 voters casting ballots, making the central city district the one with the highest number of votes. Looking at the 2010 demographic profile for that district, it’s obvious that the central city has considerably fewer children – less than 8 percent at the time of the last census – so even though the total number of people in each district was roughly equivalent when the district maps were drawn up, some districts, 9 in particular, have more voters. Young, who was a political consultant for many years and worked on the city’s district maps, said Wednesday that Austin would not have new maps until 2021, “or possibly as late as 2022,” because of all the things that have to happen before Austin can redraw its maps.

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