Late Tuesday night it was officially announced that a majority of Austin voters rejected Proposition A which would have increased funding to the Austin Police Department and resulted in the hiring of hundreds of new police officers.
While early voting results had indicated that the proposition would be refused, the overall results were a resounding victory for Prop. A opponents. Out of the total 183,000 votes cast in Travis County—21.56% of all eligible county voters—68.4% of all voters voted against Prop. A, while approximately 31.6% voted in favor.
The Austin measure was among several referendums that sought to address the role of police departments in U.S. cities. The initiative would have forced Austin to match every 1,000 residents with two patrolling officers. Its supporters argued that boosting the ranks of the police force was necessary to combat the city’s growing homicide. However, opponents—including Mayor Steve Adler and the unions that represent Austin firefighters and paramedics—warned that its passage would see a decline in firefighters, medics, and librarians.
“This election reaffirms our community’s belief that public safety for all requires a comprehensive system that includes properly staffing our police, but also our fire, EMS, and mental health responses as well,” Adler said in a tweet that followed the announcement of the results.