Early voting begins, here’s what to expect
AUSTIN, Texas - This election, expect some changes, with the first being the voting machines.
The Travis County Clerk says the previous system was 18-years-old, so it was time for an update, and a way to reassure voters of the election's integrity. "This is voters' first chance to get to use a voting system with a touch screen for them to make their choices, but it offers voters for the first time a paper trail," said Dana DeBeauvoir, Travis County Clerk.
This election is for constitutional amendments and propositions only.
“There is some pinned up demand for voting, some people want to have their voice heard and they're going to come out and vote, perhaps thinking this is the time for selecting people on the ballot not realizing this is a constitutional amendment election,” she said.
So what is on the ballot?
Austin voters will see Proposition A which would be a decision on whether or not the city should require voter and majority council member approval for the sale and lease of land for something like sports complexes and entertainment venues.
“We are opposing the city of Austin Proposition A to make sure we continue to support our non-profit community, live music community, our cultural arts community. Every election costs upwards of $600,000 so it's not a great use of resources. We've already elected our city council members to make sure those are the best people to represent our values and make those day to day decisions,” said Dyana Limon-Mercado, chairperson of the Travis County Democratic Party.
However, the Travis County Republican Party supports Prop A.
“This is a response to the MLS soccer stadium deal. On that issue, our Travis County executive committee is encouraging people to vote yes. I will say I’m conflicted on this personally,” said Matt Mackowiak, chairperson of the Travis County Republican Party. “It's no surprise that the Republican Party would want to have more red tape around what our democratic city council can do with the city property,” said Limon-Mercado.
Proposition B will leave the fate of the convention center expansion plan in voters' hands.
The Travis County Proposition A is about expanding the Travis County Expo Center. Both parties agree on that.
There are 10 statewide amendments voters should be concerned about, one of them deciding on a state income tax. DeBeauvoir says day one of early voting was low turnout, but numbers may change soon. “The state is expecting about a 13 percent turnout. We think Travis County will turn out in greater numbers,” she said