After late surge in early voting period and squabbling over Prop B, more than 100,000 Austinites have cast their ballots
After a surge in the final two days of the early voting period that led to long lines at some polling places, a total of 103,832 Austin residents—or around 13.7% of registered voters—have cast their ballots in the May 1 local election, which typically sees low turnout. This represents nearly double the number of Austinites who voted early in the May 2016 local election but less than a third of the number who voted early in the November 2020 local election, according to the Travis County Clerk's Office.
Voters will determine the fate of eight propositions, including Proposition B, which would reinstate a ban on sitting, lying, camping and panhandling in certain areas, and Proposition F, which would change the city government from a strong-manager system to a strong-mayor one. More about the propositions can be found here.
The final two days of the early voting period did see a significant increase in turnout, accounting for around 42% of ballots cast.
For some voters, this meant atypically long lines.
Line at Austin Rec Center on Shoal Creek. Skate park providing excellent background noise. Wait seems to be around 35mins but line is getting longer (and closer to 🛹 🛹) pic.twitter.com/h3nw4x0GqT
— ATX May Elections: Early voting: April 19-27 (@cityjane) April 27, 2021
"The vote count should be representative of the community," Mayor Steve Adler tweeted on Monday, urging his followers to vote against Prop B in the tail end of the early voting period and on Election Day. "So far, those early voting are not. They're much, much older and much, much more Republican."
Some commenters took issue with Adler's message, arguing that it was dismissive of older or Republican voters and politicized Prop B, which has been spearheaded by Save Austin Now, a local political action committee led by the Travis County GOP Chairperson Matt Mackowiak and local Democratic activist Cleo Petricek.
Election Day is on Saturday. Polling locations, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., can be found here.
- Strong mayor proposal encounters diverse coalition of opoonents ... ›
- Pro vs. con: How should Austin vote on strong-mayor Prop F ... ›
- How Austinites and businesses will vote on homeless camping ban ... ›
- Pro vs. con: How should Austin vote on Prop B camping ban ... ›
- Austonia's guide to the May 1 local election - austonia ›
- Greg Casar and Matt Mackowiak continue to butt heads in Austin politics - austonia ›
Akins Early College High School, 10701 S. 1st St., is on lockdown as district police investigate a report of an "armed subject," Austin ISD Police Chief Ashley Gonzalez tweeted at 10:11 a.m. Wednesday.
Students and staff are safe, Gonzalez tweeted. Parents are asked to refrain from going to campus.
Akins HS currently on LOCKDOWN while @AISDPolice investigate a report of an armed subject@AkinsAISD @AustinISD @aisdparents pic.twitter.com/FhGXRchIXZ
— Chief Ashley A. Gonzalez (@chiefagonzalez) December 1, 2021
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Taylor Police Department is investigating an apparent murder-suicide that left four people dead on Tuesday.
Officers responded to a call at around 1 p.m. for a welfare check at 616 Symes St. in Taylor, Texas, where the Taylor Fire Department helped force entry into the home since it was locked, police said. Once inside, officers found four dead bodies. The names of the victims have not been released as police continue to contact relatives, but officers revealed they consisted of a 45-year-old woman, a 20-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man and a 57-year-old man.
Police believe the deaths to be a murder-suicide and are investigating with the help of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers.
Later that day, another murder was reported in Taylor, which police say is unrelated.
Police responded to a shooting at 2100 Whistling Way around 4 p.m. Tuesday. They said a family member found 33-year-old Jonathan Hitch with a gunshot wound to his head. It is being investigated as a suspicious death.
No matter how long you’ve been in Austin, Samuel Grey Horse has probably been here longer than you and the spirit of his indigenous ancestors walked the land far before anyone living did. Born and raised in the capital city in 1961, the city has grown and changed all around him.
You’ve probably seen or heard of Grey Horse before—he’s been called the “Sixth Street Cowboy” due to his penchant for riding his horses through the city streets, dressing up as Santa Claus during the holidays and making national news back in 2011 when he received a DUI while riding his mule down Sixth Street.
“I remember when I could see the capital from anywhere,” Grey Horse told Austonia during a visit to his East Austin ranch. “I never thought or imagined that I would see Austin like this.”
Now, living with his three horses, mule and dogs in East Austin on “the road that time forgot,” Grey Horse lives the “Native” lifestyle; he cares for his horses, tends to his garden, holds sacred prayer ceremonies, writes music, sings with legendary musicians and occasionally films with Richard Linklater, director of "Dazed and Confused."
Just as Austin changed over the years, so too did Grey Horse. On June 26, 2010, he was in an accident that he credits for changing his life. While riding a racing horse, Grey Horse’s saddle came loose and dragged him underneath for 150 yards. By the time they had stopped, Grey Horse had 12 broken ribs, collapsed lungs, a broken neck, broken clavicle, cracked skull, broken wrist and went into a coma.
“I had all the things done to me but that's how the universe teaches you,” Grey Horse said. “They said I would never ride a horse again or walk correctly, but no, I don't live in that world, because where I went to with my coma. I was living in another world, in the other world’s illusion.”
His road to recovery was long, arduous, miraculous and aided by his horses: Big Tex, Big Red and mule Mula, who have all been in his care for well over a decade. Grey Horse said they took care of his “energy” when he needed them most. Despite the pain that ensued from horses, his accident drew the cross-species family together.
Big Red and Mula have been living with Grey Horse for 16 and 14 years, respectively. (Sam Grey Horse/Instagram)
“I ride them around town and share them with everybody because everything has a purpose,” Grey Horse said. “You don't throw something away just because it's a little beat up. I was all beat up.”
The winters are still painful for his joints but he powers through so he can bring joy to the people of Downtown Austin in his Santa Claus costume every year.
“I can't hurt because I'm Santa Claus, and I got to be Santa for the kids and everybody. I give them inspiration and energy, I make millions happy downtown,” Grey Horse said. “I sing often with a cordless mic, my horses dance and they're happy. If I can make one person happy that makes a difference.”
Though it was never his intention, a career in music found Grey Horse and it felt right due to his mother telling him as a child he would be a singer one day. Grey Horse recently returned from his tour with The Greyhounds and Sir Woman across Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
His original song, “Crow Dog,” is a tribute to his life and the people who have passed along their loving energy in it.
Show biz can’t get enough of Grey Horse, who also models for Patagonia and Levi’s; he taught Joe Jonas how to ride a horse for a video shoot. He is now working with a British filmmaker on a documentary, and was featured on episode 10 of Linklater’s “That Animal Rescue Show.”
“I sing with Grammy winners, which is very special to me, and I write songs about my life. Very magical stuff,” Grey Horse said. “(The tour) was one of the best runs we've done for now—people are out and want to get out and the energy the guys bring is amazing.”
You’re certain to see Grey Horse around town if you spend some time near The Continental Club on South Congress or the Texas Capitol into the night. Until then, tok sha.
“There are no words for goodbye in my language, it's 'tok sha,'” Grey Horse said. “It means I’ll see you again. I'll see you soon. I'll see you in the next life.”
- Austin Bergstrom brings live music back to its terminal - austonia ›
- Austin venues are deciding how to stay open despite COVID ... ›
- Austin vs. Nashville: The Live Music Capital of the World and Music ... ›
- Some Austin live music venues reopen to smaller crowds - austonia ›