Early voting begins: 8 propositions, including camping ban on ballot

Early voting began on Monday, and as expected no long lines, but this election is an important one where people are voting on a large spectrum of issues.

Let's start with Proposition A.

"As a city government firefighters have collective bargaining rights, as do all public unions so what this does it expands on those and kind of clarifies it," said Brian Smith, professor of political science at St. Edward’s University.

Proposition B is the one getting the most attention, and money.

"This is one thing that would change the public camping law. We had a law in effect, it was rescinded, now they want to put it back," said Smith.

Save Austin Now brought forth the ballot measure earlier in the year. If approved, the first thing it does is reinstates the citywide camping ban.

"We restore the sit, lye ordinance which used to just apply downtown. We restore it downtown and extend it to the UT campus," said Matt Machowiak, Save Austin Now.

Panhandling from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am would also be illegal. However, Machowiak is frustrated with some of the ballot language, saying it confuses voters on the sit, lye ordinance, and city-wide camping ban, which are not the same thing.



"The ballot language is intentionally misleading. We believe it's prejudicial, I actually believe it's illegal," he said.

Proposition C would let council appoint a director of police oversight. Prop D would move the mayoral election to coincide with the presidential, possibly bringing more voters out. Prop E would bring in ranked choice voting to city elections.

Prop F is another hot button item, according to Smith.

"It's kind of down the ballot on the list, but it's one of the most important propositions out there because it will affect how the city of Austin is governed. It would remove the city manager position. The mayor would then assume these duties," he said.

The proposition, if approved, would move the city to a ‘strong-mayor’ form of governance.

Proposition G adds an additional council district. Proposition H would adopt a public finance campaign program, which smith says may level the playing field for candidates.

"The idea here is that voters would be able to give up to $50 to be donated to the candidate of their choice. It would be using city revenue," said Smith.

Regardless of where you stand on homeless camping, campaign finance, or strong-mayor governance, Smith said ultimately it's just imperative that you vote.

"If you don't go out and vote you're stuck with whatever other people have decided is best for you," he said.

Early voting runs until April 27. Election Day is May 1.