Austin Passes Prop A, Rejects Prop B in Elections
Austin, Texas – On Saturday, as early voting results were coming in, both supporters and opponents of the two propositions on police department oversight shared their reactions. The propositions appear similar at first glance, but the difference between them comes down to the level of oversight.
Proposition A contains the phrase “…deter police misconduct and brutality by strengthening civilian police oversight,” whereas Proposition B just says “…strengthen civilian police oversight.” Backed by Equity Action, Proposition A offers essentially more oversight than Proposition B, which is supported by Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability (VOPA) and the Austin Police Association.
“We’re feeling very pleased with the results so far,” said Kathy Mitchell with Equity Action.
“Not surprised. It is Austin, let’s face it, the Portland, the Seattle, the San Francisco of Texas, but disappointed. I think it has to be disheartening for the men and women of the Austin Police Department to see these results,” said Kevin Lawrence with the Texas Municipal Police Association.
“Prop A creates a very reasonable but effective system of civilian oversight. We believe that officers who are comfortable working within the rules should have no problem with it, and I think that’s the first step in healing the community,” Mitchell said.
“I think we’re going to see litigation out of this. I think there’s no doubt about that. I think it’s going to make it more difficult for the city and the union to sit down and negotiate a new contract. But more importantly, it’s going to make it that much more difficult for the Austin Police Department to fill their ranks,” Lawrence added.
Travis County Clerk Dyana Limon-Mercado said that the voter turnout was on a par with other local elections, with approximately 28,000 people voting on Election Day and around 50,000 voting early.
“We typically expect about five or seven percent in a local election. These results are on track with that. We’re about six-and-a-half percent or just over that for turnout,” Limon-Mercado said.