Thought election season was over? Not quite.
Early voting has begun for Austin’s City Council runoff elections. Election Day is on December 11th.
What’s a runoff election?
In Austin, if no single candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the general election, then we head to a runoff. During the runoff election, Austinites are able to choose between the top two vote-getters from the general election in November.
Who can vote in the runoff election?
Although there were five City Council districts up for election in November, only three had to go into a runoff. (Council members Kathie Tovo from District 9 and Ann Kitchen from District 5 won reelection with enough votes to avoid a runoff.)
The three districts that need runoff elections are 1 (central east Austin), 3 (east Austin), and 8 (southwest Austin).
If you live in one of these three districts, you can participate in this year’s City Council runoff election! (Only people who live in a district can vote in that district’s City Council elections). You can figure out which district you live in here. (Just scroll down to the little blue bar that says “District Lookup.”)
Who’s running in the election?
Below is a list of the candidates running in each district, as well as the percentage of votes they received in the November general election.
- Mariana Salazar – 26.01%
- Natasha-Harper Madison – 25.07%
- Sabino “Pio” Renteria – 47.71%
- Susana Almanza – 21.31%
- Paige Ellis – 30.50%
- Frank Ward – 24.70%
PS – Runoff elections for an AISD School Board seat and the Austin Community College Board are also on the ballot this December.
Why is it important to vote in the runoff election?
Because hardly anyone does. And that means that the people who do vote have a huge impact on the future of our city. In Austin’s last runoff elections (in 2014 for the mayor’s race) more than 85 percent of Austinites didn’t participate.
Yes, we know that the holidays are right around the corner and the last thing you want to be thinking about are elections. But this is important people!
Okay, I’ll vote… but how can I make an informed decision?
Check out these resources:
- The League of Women Voters Guide (for the runoff elections) – read through bios and position statements from each of the candidates
- District 1 City Council Runoff Candidate Forum
- District 3 City Council Runoff Candidate Forum
- District 8 City Council Runoff Candidate Forum
You can also look through some of the more eco-centric resources we compiled for the November general elections here. (Just be sure to only focus on the candidates who are actually participating in the runoff.)