Look out ladies, things are about to get crazy during November elections. Not really, but there are some changes headed your way. I know November seems like a million miles away, but in election world, it’s just around the corner!
This November along with voting for the next Texas Governor and Lt. Governor you will be voting for your city council members and mayor. (You will also be voting on county commissioners, county judge, etc. but that’s another post.) This election used to take place in May, but was moved to November to increase voter turnout since more people typically vote in statewide elections.
Why should you vote? The city council makes decisions related to, but not limited to, land use and development, transportation, energy, water, taxes and the city budget. This can effect what businesses go in across from your neighborhood to whether or not money is allocated to fix the potholes on your street and how your tax dollars are spent. The council also makes decisions about everyone’s favorite subject– TRAFFIC. If that’s not a reason to vote, I don’t know what is.
Currently we have 6 city council members and one Mayor and each is elected at-large meaning, technically, each council member represents the entire city. Because each represents the entire city (as opposed to district representation like most cities) we used to be able to vote for each council member. But, the city of Austin was recently separated into 10 districts. The thought behind this change is that all parts of the city will be represented at city hall. The old system (7 at-large seats) resulted in concentrated power in central and west Austin. For example, of the current council, not a single member lives south of the river. That will change in November when district representation is implemented. In November, you will vote for the Mayor and your District’s council member. You might be wondering what district you live in. You can plug in your zip code into an interactive map here to find out.
It should also be noted that the candidate running for city council are nonpartisan, which means they don’t align themselves with a political party. It’s still early but you can find some possible candidates on the Austin Chronicle site. Filing deadlines for candidates will be later this summer, so the list won’t be final until then. I’ll be sure to keep you informed about who will be running in each district.
Until then, what issues do you think our city council should be focusing on?