Austin runoff election early turnout at 7% heading into election day Dec. 15

Polls open at 7 a.m on Dec. 15 in local runoff elections to elect two Austin City Council members and two members of the Austin ISD board of trustees. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Polls open at 7 a.m on Dec. 15 in local runoff elections to elect two Austin City Council members and two members of the Austin ISD board of trustees. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Polls open at 7 a.m on Dec. 15 in local runoff elections to elect two Austin City Council members and two members of the Austin ISD board of trustees. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

According to numbers from the Travis County clerk, 41,515 county voters have cast their ballots so far in the Dec. 15 local runoff elections, a total of 7.37% of the 563,296 who are eligible to cast a ballot.

Just over half of those early voters—22,209—appeared in person, while 19,306 voters cast their ballot by mail.

Voters in Austin are electing two Austin City Council members and two members of the Austin ISD board of trustees. Unsurprisingly, the busiest early polling locations in Travis County were those within the Austin City Council districts with contested elections.

The Austin Public Library's Old Quarry Branch, in District 10, was by far the busiest early polling location, with 6,756 in-person voters. No other location in Travis County had more than 3,000 votes. Incumbent Alison Alter is facing challenger Jennifer Virden for the District 10 seat.

The second-most visited early site in Travis County was Lions Municipal Golf Course, also in District 10, followed by Peace Lutheran Church in District 6—where incumbent Jimmy Flannigan is looking to hold onto his seat against opponent Mackenzie Kelly. Parts of District 6 are located within Williamson County.


The low turnout is a stark contrast from the Nov. 3 general election, when 612,000 Travis County residents came out to vote early. However, it is relatively typical for a runoff election, where campaigns shift strategy to target frequent voters in typically low-turnout elections.

In the 2018 Austin City Council runoff elections, 6.62% of voters came out early, and the total turnout ended at 11.37%. In the Austin ISD election that same year for an at-large position, 3.44% of eligible Travis County voters cast ballots early, and the total turnout was 5.82%.