The Austin Chronicle

What’s on the Ballot?

April 16, 2021, News

Seven of the eight propositions (all except Prop B) would amend the Austin City Charter, which can only be amended by election every two years – a state law provision that, by a matter of days, made the APR amendments (Props D-H) ineligible for the November 2020 ballot. Other than Prop C, placed on the ballot by Council vote, all the May 1 ballot measures originated as citizen initiatives.

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 it 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 non-voting member of Council if Prop F passed, an 11th single-member district was included by APR in its proposed text for Prop F, in an effort to avoid potential 5-5 deadlocks on Council. However, because Prop G is a standalone proposition, it is not dependent on Prop F's passage or failure, so we could wind up with 12 Council members.

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

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