Commentary & Analysis

Breaking the Partisan Mold in Austin, Texas

In 2020, CES opened up our first ever Request for Proposals for groups seeking grants to run approval voting campaigns. This article is part of a series in which RFP applicants introduce themselves and explain why their community needs approval voting.

Author: Sass, Approve Austin

When you think of Austin, Texas, what do you think of? Maybe the marvelous music scene, as featured in Austin City Limits. The thousands of bats that take flight from under Congress Avenue Bridge every night? Or perhaps you associate Austin with SXSW, our world-famous arts, music, and industry festival. We have a great deal to offer here in Austin!

Politically, you might think of us as a speck of blue in the sea of red Texas, but we’re a lot more nuanced than that. Austin is a unique city that has grown rapidly in recent years, reaching a population of nearly a million! We’re the state capital, and we’re very influential in national politics. 

That’s why we need approval voting. 

We need a voting method that can adapt to the diversity of political thought that exists here in Austin—from progressives to centrists to libertarians. We need a method that reflects the nuance and uniqueness of our city.

Thanks to our current choose-one voting method, Austin has been faced with many broken elections recently where vote-splitting really affected the outcomes. 

Approval voting would give us the advantage of being able to show support for ALL the candidates we like. This gives us real freedom of choice—no longer do we have to fit ourselves into one partisan box, vote just for the lesser-of-two-evils, or worry about splitting the vote amongst several candidates we truly support. As voters, we would be freed from the constraints of choose-one voting, and we’d elect more representative leaders.

Austinites across the political spectrum feel the need for this reform. 

I myself am a Coordinator of the Austin Hub of the Movement for a People’s Party. But my fellow leaders of Approve Austin have ideologies that are distinct from mine. We span the spectrum from Libertarian to Democrat to Independent. Several of our leaders have previously run for office and intimately understand the problems that our choose-one voting method creates.

Like I said, Austin is a unique and diverse city. So it’s only fitting that those of us leading the charge for approval voting are diverse, too. This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a people issue. 

Austin is known for being a little odd. For taking the lead. For being home to diverse people with different styles, backgrounds, and opinions. That’s how we like it.

With your help, we can continue to break the mold by adopting approval voting. Our city is ready for it.

Approve Austin

Join your local approval voting chapter:

CES wants to fund as many of these approval voting campaign proposals as possible in 2021. But that all depends on how much funding we’re able to bring in before the end of the year. Want to make sure Approve Austin gets the support they need? Make your gift today to empower these local advocates.