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Voters show little interest in November ballot

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 by Jo Clifton

While some people are intensely interested in Save Austin Now’s Proposition A, which would require millions of dollars in extra city spending to hire more Austin police officers, and other people are intensely interested in Proposition B, which would essentially result in additional parkland for Austin, not many Austinites have made it to the polls to express their preferences yet. After seven days of early voting, only 4.95 percent of registered Travis County voters had cast ballots for the Nov. 2 election. The polling places most likely to see early voters include the Ben Hur Shrine Center at 7811 Rockwood Lane, which recorded 5,882 voters as of Sunday night, the Austin Oaks Church at 4220 Monterey Oaks Boulevard, which saw 4,416 voters, and Southpark Meadows (Suite 500), where 3,258 ballots were cast. One place not seeing much voter interest was the George Morales Dove Springs Recreation Center, where only 425 voters had cast ballots as of Monday night. According to Save Austin Now PAC co-founder Matt Mackowiak, the reason for the paltry turnout is “the low profile of the other items on the ballot” – eight constitutional amendments that have gotten little attention. Mackowiak said his group is “working overtime to educate and motivate voters to early vote before end of day Friday or vote on Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The stakes for our city are immense. Violent crime continues to rise as police staffing decreases.” On the other side, Laura Hernandez, No Way on Prop A campaign manager, told the Austin Monitor via email that Prop A is “a dangerous measure with disastrous consequences …. It’s well known that elections in odd-numbered years tend to have lower turnout, and that’s why the Republicans behind Prop A put it on the ballot for this year. They’re trying to pull a fast one on Austinites who aren’t paying attention, and that’s why we’ve dedicated all of our resources to educating voters and getting them to the polls. We know that if Austinites show up, Prop A doesn’t stand a chance.” Pollster Mark Littlefield, who is working in support of Prop B and opposes Prop A, said as of Saturday, “Turnout looks very much as expected in both size and composition.” Find early voting locations here.

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