About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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Turnout low but not like before
All along, one expected positive result of the 10-1 change was the potential to increase voter interest and participation in local Austin elections. Good news and bad news on that front: Austin did see a significant increase over ballots cast in previous Council elections. In the June 2011 runoff, just 9 percent of registered voters turned out to select then-candidate Kathie Tovo over then-Council Member Randi Shade. Similarly, in June 2008, only 5 percent of the population showed up to hoist Council Member Laura Morrison over Cid Galindo. In 2005, a shade under 8 percent of voters turned out to pick Jennifer Kim over Margot Clarke. By direct measure, then, Tuesday’s turnout was indeed an improvement: 15 percent of the population took part in eight runoff elections. Still, the ratio remains a low one — and, as such, keeps Austin in line with at least one national trend.