by Lorraine Atherton
The South Central Coalition of neighborhood associations (Barton Hills, Bouldin Creek, Dawson, Galindo, South Lamar, South River City, and Zilker) has been tracking voter turnout in precincts for Zip code 78704 for about 15 years. The Billion Bubba rankings represent the ongoing competition among the seven neighborhoods to boost their voter turnout. Barton Hills and Zilker traditionally have the highest turnout, and this year was no different. Zilker precinct 332 had the highest turnout, at 70%, followed by Barton Hills, at 67.3%. The only South Central precinct that did not break 50% was South Lamar precinct 430, with 48.9% turnout.
For this fall's national election, voter registration in the City of Austin was up by about 34,000 over the May 2012 election. Compared with the 2008 national election, however, the actual number of voters is down: Voter registration is down by 745 voters in the South Central precincts; 1747 fewer votes were cast by South Central voters in this election; citywide, 6291 fewer votes were cast.
Zilker Voter Stamina
In the presidential race at the top of the ballot, 3215 Zilker neighbors voted. As we made our way through the ballot, fewer and fewer of us voted, hanging at around 2700 on the city charter and bond propositions but dropping off to less than 1500 in the ACC and Austin School Board races. In voting precinct 340, turnout for the District 5 Trustee race between Charlie Jackson and Amber Elenz was less than 9%.
Let's hope that was a fluke and not what we can expect from future local elections in November.
On the City of Austin ballot
The City Council 10-1 plan (Prop. 3) won about 60% of the South Central vote, the same as the citywide result. In Barton Hills, Prop. 3 beat Prop. 4 (the hybrid 8-2-1 plan) by only 8 votes, but in the rest of South Central, Prop. 3 support was several percentage points higher than Prop. 4 support. Zilker precinct 332 was one of the few precincts in the city to reject Prop. 4 outright. Other differences between Zilker and the citywide results:
- Zilker voted 63% in favor of Prop. 6, to allow the City Council (rather than the city manager) to hire the city attorney; citywide, Prop. 6 failed, with only 49% of the vote.
- Zilker's support for the City Council staff and civil service propositions (5, 10, and 11) was several percentage points higher than the citywide vote.
- Zilker's support for the bond propositions averaged 8 points higher than the citywide vote. Most notable is our 55% support for the affordable housing bonds, which failed citywide. The parks, library, and open space bonds received the highest number of votes in Zilker.
Other Election Results
In the national, state, and county races, Zilker and the rest of South Central continues to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Unfortunately, that means that the statewide candidates we supported lost to Republicans. Zilker was redistricted out of Lloyd Doggett's Congressional district; we are now represented by Republican Lamar Smith in District 21. All of the judicial races on this year's ballot went to Republicans. In the races without Democratic candidates, Zilker voted overwhelmingly for the Libertarian candidate or, in the case of Supreme Court Place 4, the Green candidate.
Also because of redistricting, we are now in State Senate district 14, represented by Democrat Kirk Watson. Our State Representative is still Democrat Elliott Naishtat in district 49, who received 87% of the vote in Zilker. Redistricting is also blamed for Karen Huber's loss in the Precinct 3 Travis County Commissioner's race; Democrat Huber won 78% of the vote in Zilker but lost by two percentage points to Republican Gerald Daugherty.
Finally, redistricting also put Zilker in a new district within AISD. Amber Elenz won 63% of the vote in Zilker, about what she won in the rest of District 5. Despite intense interest in neighborhood schools and school district issues, turnout for this race was the lowest in Zilker, less than 27%.
Thanks for voting!
L. Atherton (Zilker NA)