The Austin Chronicle

What's on the May 1 Ballot?

Voters will decide "strong-mayor" leadership, public camping ban, and other local measures in special election

By Beth Sullivan, March 5, 2021, News

The May 2021 special election will feature six citizen ballot measures. Proposition B was brought by a Save Austin Now citizen-initiated petition certified by the city clerk in February, while Propositions D through H are the result of a 2020 Austinites for Progressive Reform citizen-initiated petition. Propositions A and C were added to the ballot by Council. All but Prop B are charter amendments; the City Charter can only be amended by election every two years, so if any of these amendments pass, no others may be considered until 2023.

Election day: Saturday, May 1

In-person early voting: April 19-27

Last day to register to vote: Thursday, April 1

Last day to request a ballot by mail: Tuesday, April 20 (received by the county clerk, not postmarked)

Prop A: Charter amendment allowing the Austin Firefighters Association to force the city into binding arbitration if they reach an impasse in collective bargaining.

Prop B: Code amendment prohibiting public camping in addition to sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk or sleeping outdoors in and near Downtown and the UT-Austin area.

Prop C: Charter amendment permitting City Council to appoint or remove the director of the Office of Police Oversight.

Prop D: Charter amendment moving Austin's mayoral election to presidential election years.

Prop E: Charter amendment creating ranked choice voting for city elections. If passed, voters would rank candidates instead of voting for just one candidate.

Prop F: Charter amendment changing Austin's form of government from "council-manager" to "mayor-council," also known as "strong mayor." If passed, this would eliminate the city manager position; the mayor would not have a vote on Council but would have the authority to veto Council decisions.

Prop G: Charter amendment creating an 11th City Council district. Because the mayor would be rendered a nonvoting member of Council if Prop F passes (see above), an 11th single-member district was proposed in an effort to avoid potential 5-5 deadlocks on Council. However, because Prop G is a stand-alone proposition, it is not dependent on Prop F's passage or failure.

Prop H: Charter amendment creating a so-called "Democracy Dollars" public campaign finance program that would provide up to two $25 vouchers to every registered voter, who could then contribute them to candidates for city office.

Follow the latest election news, including how to register to vote and apply for ballot-by-mail, at

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