Austinites overwhelmingly reject Prop A and the implementation of a public vote before non-public sports or entertainment venues use public land

Groundbreaking for the Austin FC stadium
Austin FC leaders, investors and city officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the Major League Soccer stadium Sept. 9. Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper

Austin FC leaders, investors and city officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the Major League Soccer stadium Sept. 9. Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper

Austin’s Proposition A, which asked voters if they want the right to vote before the city sells or leases any city-owned property for a non-public sports or entertainment venue, has been defeated, as Austinites in Travis and Williamson counties voted against the measure 62.9% to 37.1% according to voting results from the county clerks.

Approximately 103,178 Austinites cast votes on the proposition between early voting and Election Day results, a turnout of roughly 15.6%. Early voting was open from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1, during which 37,671 Austinites voted on the question. Election day totals continued to trickle in throughout the evening, however, election results are not final until the votes are canvassed. Austinites living in Williamson County supported the measure 52.7% to 47.3%, but only contributed 5,007 total votes to the tally.

Proposition A began as a citizen-initiated petition following City Council's decision to allow a private entity to build a Major League Soccer stadium on a city-owned tract in North Austin. The petition gained over 20,000 signatures from Austin voters, thus earning a spot on this year's ballot. Critics of the proposition said if it passed, with the way it was written, it would require citizens to vote on land contracts with organizations such as the YMCA, and popular venues such as the Zach Theater. The initial backers of the petitions, the political action committee Fair Play Austin, has since disavowed the proposition.

Proposition A was one of two citizen-initiated ordinances that reached this year's ballot—Proposition B, which asked voters whether they wanted the right to vote on any convention center expansion costing more than $20 million, was the other. Citizen-initiated ordinances are a tool offered by the state constitution that allow citizens to draft a law, petition voters for signatures of support and force City Council to either pass the ordinance or put it to a citywide vote.

City Council Member Greg Casar said voter rejection of the two propositions was a vote of confidence in the elected officials to continue making progress.

"The community wants to keep pushing the council to do the right thing and is rejecting the path of special interest-funded propositions," Casar said.

Casar highlighted that Propositions A and B were the fourth and fifth citizen-initiated ordinances that made it to the ballot since City Council transitioned to the geographical representation system known as 10-1. All five failed to gain majority public support.
By Christopher Neely

Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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