Nov 3, 2021 - Politics

Austin voters say no to more cops

Gold police badge partially covered by an "I voted" sticker.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Preliminary numbers show Austin voters soundly rejecting Proposition A, the ballot measure that would have required the city to have at least two police officers for every 1,000 people.

The big picture: The results suggest limits on the Save Austin Now coalition that was so successful in reinstating the city's camping ban ordinance this May.

  • The group successfully placed Prop A on the ballot, but it was almost immediately clear that the measure would fail Tuesday evening.
  • Of the more than 155,000 votes cast, 68% voted against Prop A and 31% for the measure.

Why it matters: Prop A garnered national dollars, proving that Austin's referendum reflected broader themes around policing in America.

What they're saying: Opponents of Prop A cheered Austin voters' decision. Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said Prop A would not have provided comprehensive public safety.

  • "Tonight's results show that Austinites have rejected right-wing division and are marching forward for progressive change," Casar said in a statement following the release of early voting totals. "Our city will continue to fight for comprehensive public safety, civil rights, and a better city for all."
  • Opponents also argued the proposition, if successful, would lead to budget cuts for other city programs, such as libraries.

The other side: "Tonight was a setback," Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak tweeted. "But we are not defeated. We will triple our commitment to making Austin a great place to live, work & raise a family."

Of note: Austin voters approved Proposition B, a tentative land swap deal between the city and Oracle.


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