Two police oversight propositions on the ballot in Austin

Early voting started today for the May election and Austinites will only see two items on the ballot: Prop A and Prop B.

The two police oversight propositions can be easily confused because only a few words differentiate them on the ballot, and it's admittedly causing confusion for voters.

Both propositions target strengthening police oversight, but to different extents.

Proposition A, backed by Equity Action, calls to deter police misconduct and brutality by giving the Office of Police Oversight more power including direct access to certain police records when conducting investigations

Proposition B, backed by Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability as well as the Austin Police Association, would strengthen the city’s system of independent and transparent civilian police oversight, but would restrict certain records the Office of Police Oversight can use when conducting investigations.


On community radio station KAZI 88.7 FM, Prop A and Prop B were a main topic.

"Those two things only, and they look almost identical," said Chris Harris with Equity Action. "Right. And that's very much on purpose."

Chas Moore and Harris, both with the Austin Justice Coalition, are for Prop A and against Prop B, and say Prop B is a watered down version of Prop A.

"We got Prop A that was brought to you by the good folks at Equity Action that is asking the city to beef up oversight and with oversight and accountability looks like for Austin Police Department," said Moore.

However some people would rather support Prop B.

"In my opinion, there's only one clear choice and one legal choice, and that's Prop B," says Cleo Petricek with Save Austin Now. Petricek says if it fails and Prop A is voted in, it’ll just turn into a legal mess for the city.

"If we want to have oversight, then we must pass Prop B because it works hand in hand with the meet and confer process, which will further delegate what provisions that are contradictory or what is against chapter 143," says Petricek.

Early voting goes until next Tuesday with Election Day on Saturday, May 6. It is currently unknown as to what will happen if both props are voted in.