Friday, June 29, 2012

Competing Council District Plans Will be on November Ballot

The City Council has decided to put two options for district representation on the November Ballot, reports.  The concern is that voters will split on the district plans and it will doom both to failure.

The ballot will give voters three choices:  keep the council as is with 7 members representing the entire city, a plan with 10 district representatives and one citywide mayor, or a plan with eight district representatives and three citywide members, including the mayor.

A group called Austinites for Geographic Representation gathered 30,000 signatures to put the 10-1 plan on the ballot, but other council members prefer the 8-3 mix to strike a balance between neighborhood needs and city wide issues, so on a 4-3 vote the council voted to put that plan on the ballot as well.

There will be two more votes on this issue this summer, so the council could decide differently later.  Political experts think that most Austinites will favor no change and then the rest of voters will choose one or the other plan, scuttling both.  Austinites have voted against district plans six times since 1970.

A district plan will have to get over 50 percent of the vote to be enacted.  The council added a provision to the ballot that if both plans get more than 50 percent of the vote, the plan with the most votes will be the winner.

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