Burnt Orange Report cannot offer an endorsement on Proposition 3, as our staff split evenly between advocating YES and NO votes.
Those in support of Prop 3 argue that the 10-1 single member districts plan is still an improvement over our all-at-large system, and that since the two dueling propositions are not in opposition on the ballot, there is no reason not to vote for both of them. Supporters of Prop 3 suggest that this plan is the best way to increase minority representation and end the so-called “Gentleman's Agreement,” which basically allows a majority-white electorate to select the sole Hispanic and African-American members of council, rather than their own communities.
Those against Prop 3 argue that an all-district plan makes it more difficult to elect dispersed minority groups, such as Asian-Americans, LGBT folks, and women. There are concerns that an all-district council will tend towards NIMBY “ward mentality” politics in which each representative only looks out for his or her own narrow interests. Several staff members also take serious issue with much of the fine print attached to the 10-1 districts plan, especially the independent redistricting commission, which threatens to exclude experts and will likely marginalize young and minority voters who do not participate regularly in municipal elections.
Proposition 3, like the other propositions on the ballot, is a charter amendment, which means if it passes, it will be written into the City of Austin's most fundamental governing document, and will require further elections to make any changes.
Given the divided nature of our staff and contentious nature of this issue, however, we cannot arrive at a consensus endorsement on Prop 3. We encourage voters to consider these issues, do additional research and come to their own conclusion.
Early Voting: Monday October 22 – Friday November 2 — Election Day: Tuesday, November 6
Click here for a map of Travis County Early Voting Locations. For all other counties, please contact your County Clerk's office.
Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.