Some statements in advertisements urging voters to approve the upcoming ballot proposition regarding ride-hailing company regulations are inaccurate, Austin City Council members Delia Garza, Kathie Tovo, Ann Kitchen, Ora Houston and Sabino "Pio" Renteria said in an April 19 press conference.
On May 7 voters will decide whether some city regulations on ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, stand or are repealed.
"Uber and Lyft are running a deceptive campaign in a blatant attempt to confuse voters and allow the corporations to write their own public safety rules," Garza said. "They claim that a vote for [the ride-hailing ballot proposition] would keep Uber and Lyft doing criminal background checks when it would actually eliminate the fingerprint requirements, which is the most accurate way to ensure the true identity of a driver."
Kitchen said some misleading ads claim the defeat of Proposition 1—the ride-hailing ballot question—would require the city to fund or oversee a fingerprint-based background check program.
"Uber's [claim that] a vote against Proposition 1 will require a city takeover of background checks misrepresents the process and is an attempt to deceive the voters," she said, adding that the current city regulations allow an "approved third party" to run the checks.
Travis Considine, a spokesperson for advocacy group Ridesharing Works for Austin, said it is the city-written ballot proposition language that is misleading.
“It is because the ballot language was crafted to be misleading to voters that the vote for Prop. 1 campaign is necessary at all," Considine said in an email. "City Council has not prepared for a city takeover of the system. The council has yet to specify how much it will cost taxpayers to properly administer the program when they take it over. They also haven't provided any responsive information to ensure compliance with the ordinance.”