Place 3 by Precinct

A winning strategy loses, and which precincts saw the biggest increases in votes?

Place 3 by Precinct

Power Boxes Overpowered

As always, we take a look at what we call the "power boxes" – those precincts that produce the most votes. Usually, a strong run in these boxes – which tend to be in West Austin – is a formula for success.

Looking at this map, however, one can see that this didn't work out for Shade. She conquered West Austin, and of the top 20 power boxes, she took 11 (see list, below). The problem for her, though, was that Tovo took nearly everything else.

The voting precincts are numbered according to which Travis County Commis­sion­ers Court precinct they fall in: i.e., all boxes in Ron Davis' Precinct 1 are numbered in the 100s, all boxes in Margaret Gómez's Precinct 4 are in the 400s, and so on. In Court Precinct 1, Tovo nearly pulled a complete sweep, winning all but five boxes (one of which was a tie and another two had no votes). She came close to those numbers in Court Precinct 4, failing to win only six (again, one was a tie and another had no votes). Winning West Austin is usually a good strategy, but it's not enough on its own. – Lee Nichols

Top Boxes


Election Results: First Round vs. Run-off


EarlyElection DayTotal
Kathie Tovo13,648 (55.0%)10,263 (58.1%)23,911 (56.3%)
Randi Shade11,183 (45.0%)7,411 (41.9%)18,594 (43.8%)
Total votes24,83117,67442,505


Kathie Tovo6,230 (43.3%)8,619 (48.9%)14,849 (46.4%)
Randi Shade4,883 (34.0%)5,651 (32.0%)10,534 (32.9%)
Total votes*14,38617,63232,018

* includes tallies for Max Nofziger and Kris Bailey

The biggest number in the run-off was the 73% surge in early voting, which drew 10,500 more voters than in the general, including an unusual number of voters who hadn't voted in recent city elections, according to one source. Apparently those voters broke for Tovo, as what had been a 1,347-vote lead in May's early voting ballooned to a 2,465-vote cushion this time around. And there went the election-night suspense, because Shade was never going to do as well as Tovo on election day. Overall, Tovo's margin over Shade was 1,000 votes greater than it had been in May, but a bit down in percentage, dropping from a 13.5% lead to 12.5%. In the end, Tovo's 23,911 votes were more than either Chris Riley or Laura Morrison got in May. – Nick Barbaro

Turn Out the (Same) Vote

The strangest thing about this run-off was that voting actually increased over the general election. That's a rarity – turnout usually plummets from the first round to the second. Listed here are the 20 precincts where the number of votes increased the most.

Shade's run-off loss certainly wasn't due to lack of effort – she clearly put in a strong get-out-the-vote effort. In fact, her voters actually increased by a greater percentage (77%) than Tovo's (61%). And as seen in the chart, those precincts with the biggest vote gains often favored Shade: She took 13 of that top 20. Still, she couldn't overcome Tovo's early lead and broader base of citywide support.

Only a handful of precincts experienced a drop in turnout, led by Rollingwood's box 347, which drew 657 voters in May but only 523 on Saturday with no Eanes ISD election to draw them to the polls. – L.N.

Precincts With Biggest Gains

PrecinctRun-off votesGeneral election votesGainRun-off winner (%)
256831495336Shade (67.9)
253723472251Shade (57.0)
354671425246Tovo (51.6)
278604367237Shade (59.4)
214537303234Shade (55.1)
342950716234Tovo (65.1)
251614402212Shade (55.4)
367584382202Shade (59.6)
210521338183Shade (55.3)
262585404181Shade (55.4)
231643466177Shade (59.9)
237551379172Shade (62.6)
337453282171Shade (53.2)
366476305171Shade (54.2)
239600437163Tovo (71.2)
332702539163Tovo (72.2)
328474318156Tovo (51.1)
273539387152Tovo (58.8)
327425275150Shade (59.8)
334463313150Tovo (57.2)

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power boxes, election, Randi Shade, Kathie Tovo, City Council

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