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It's Election Day, and nearly 65% of Austin voters have already cast a ballot before the day began.
Short lines made it easy to vote on Election Day in Austin. There will also be Election Day watch parties, mostly virtually, taking place after polls close.
Here is the latest election information:
11:30 a.m.: Local election results are in
Election results are complete for Travis County with two council races headed for the Dec. 15 runoffs. And along with those results, the city learns Proposition A—a 15-year, $7.1 billion overhaul of the local transit system—passed.
9:05 p.m.: Presidential race too close to call in Texas
Most of Travis County presidential votes have been counted, but an estimated one-quarter of all Texas votes are yet to be counted so far.
For ongoing vote totals for the Texas presidential race, click here.
8:50 p.m. John Cornyn retains U.S. Senate seat
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has been elected to his fourth term after beating Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, Texas Tribune projects. Here is more background about the U.S. Senate race.
8:10 p.m. Early voting results for Prop A & B as well as U.S. Senate, House races in Texas
Project Connect and the Prop B mobility bond both have significant leads based on early voting results released Tuesday night.
And, at least in Travis County, challenger MJ Hegar leads U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in local early voting totals. There are also several local U.S. House races that already have significant returns recorded. Most notably, challenger Wendy Davis leads District 21 incumbent U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.
7:45 p.m. Austin City Council results begin to emerge
Several Austin City Council seats are up for election in 2020. Here is what we know based on early votes that have already been tabulated.
- Alison Alter leads in crowded race for Austin City Council District 10 seat with early votes tallied
- Jimmy Flannigan has a narrow lead in the Austin City Council District 6 race with early votes tallied
- Leslie Pool leads in Austin City Council District 7 race with early votes tallied
- Greg Casar leads in Austin City Council District 4 race with early votes tallied
- Vanessa Fuentes leads race for Austin City Council District 2 seat, with early votes tallied
- Early voting results: Austin City Council
7:20 p.m. Polls close quietly at The University of Texas campus and at Austin Central Library
The University of Texas had no lines at campus polling locations after polls opened Tuesday morning.
There were no reported lines at The University of Texas campus or Austin Central Library in downtown Austin, two of the highest-profile polling locations in the city.
5:05 p.m.: 43,000 have voted in-person on Election Day with two hours left to go
Travis County voters cast their ballots at the Southpark Meadows Shopping Center location in far south Austin during the highly anticipated 2020 general election.
With two hours left to vote and many Austinites getting off work for the day, more than 43,000 Travis County residents have cast their ballot on Election Day, according to the Travis County clerk.
Most of the 178 Travis County polling locations report little to no wait times for voters to cast a ballot.
As of 5 p.m., only one site, Old Quarry library branch in Northwest Hills, reports an extended wait time. It reportedly will take at least 50 minutes to cast a vote at this location, although similar county reports have proven to be unsubstantiated when reviewed earlier in Election Day.
The only other county polling site reporting a delay is located in Manor, where a 50-minute-plus wait is also reportedly occurring.
Polling locations in north-central Austin have little to no wait times for voters mid-afternoon.
According to one campaign worker in front of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Northwest Hills, approximately 200 people have voted at the polling location so far today.
Another nearby spot, St. John's United Methodist Church in Allandale, also reported no wait times despite short-lived reports from Travis County that voters were waiting at least 20 minutes to cast a ballot.
Another common Election Day polling location, Congregation Beth Israel in Rosedale, had little activity as well, according to one on-site petitioner.
There may not be any polling sites in Austin's central core reporting extended wait times as of late Tuesday afternoon.
If you want to rock the vote in style, consider stopping by Austin Central Library from 6-7:30 p.m. to enjoy live music while casting a ballot. Jack Craver of Austin Politics Newsletter reports Progress Texas is hosting live music at polling sites across Austin on Election Day.
2:50 p.m.: Election Protection group reports no issues at Austin-area polling sites
Despite reports of a brief wait on Travis County's wait time map, the polling site at Juan P. Navarro Early College High School had no wait time mid-afternoon.
A volunteer from Election Protection, a polling site watch group, reports no major issues at Austin-area polling locations. Election Protection is a national, nonpartisan coalition of various nonprofit and advocacy groups that seek to protect and defend the right to vote.
1:30 p.m.: Petitions to recall Austin Mayor Steve Adler circulating at Ben Hur polling location
Ben Hur Shrine Temple in north-central Austin is also reporting slow lines, with more poll workers and campaign volunteers than voters.
However, one notable difference at this location is a campaign to recall Austin Mayor Steve Adler. The Adler recall initiative reportedly needs 61,000 valid signatures by January to qualify for a May mayoral recall election.
At least two people signed the petition on their way to vote after the lunch hour.
Jason Scott, who supports the recall initiative, was on West Anderson Drive on Tuesday waving a sign pointing voters toward the Ben Hur polling location. Some people honked, he said, while others gave him a thumbs down in response to the recall effort.
The Austin-born resident said he disagreed with Adler's decision to close down Austin during the pandemic. He also criticized the lift on Austin's camping ban.
"It's really a bad case of mismanagement," Scott said. "Just watch, there's about to be a big change politically."
Locally owned businesses have suffered most during quarantine measures, Scott said, while big-box national stores such as Walmart have benefited.
"We need to be able to restart the economy," he said.
12:15 p.m.: Lines remain short at most Austin voter locations, including spots with a reported wait
There were no lines at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church in East Austin despite reports of longer-than-usual waits at the polling location.(Joe Lanane)
Despite claims earlier in the morning that lines at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church were 20-50 minutes long, according to Travis County's wait time map, a poll worker at the site reports "relatively mild turnout" and no extensive wait times. The poll worker attributed the inaccurate report to a potential tech glitch in how they report wait times to the county.
The wait time map has since been updated heading into the noon hour to show that almost all polling locations in Travis County have short wait times between zero and 20 minutes. Only Avalon Pool and Amenity Center in Pflugerville reports an excessive wait time of 50 or more minutes. No other polling site reports wait times that exceed 20 minutes.
At other polling locations throughout Austin, voters could walk in almost immediately to cast a ballot.
10:20 a.m.: First-time poll worker reports no lines at Twin Oaks library branch
Poll workers set up outside of Twin Oaks library branch in South Austin on Election Day.Joe Lanane
Nothing unexpected has occurred so far at the Twin Oaks library branch in South Austin. A first-time poll worker, who declined to give their name, said they are glad to work the polling site to ensure there are more than enough voting locations open on Election Day.
"It's a generational handing of the baton because this position is usually served by retired people and the elderly," the poll worker said. "I felt like this was a call to action, and other than voting it just feels very hopeful to participate."
10 a.m.: South Austin house becomes pickup spot for Texas Democrats
Caitlin Gabor, right, hands out campaign literature to volunteers at a Texas Democrats pickup spot in South Austin.(Joe Lanane/Austonia)
Between two South Austin polling sites is an unofficial pickup spot for Texas Democrats volunteering today. Volunteer Caitlin Gabor is working a makeshift work station to hand off campaign literature to workers—who then will work the neighborhoods to target voters who have not yet cast ballots. Gabor said this is her first time engaging in political activity.
Volunteers, who come and go from the South Austin home, picking up campaign pamphlets, report that many voters still benefit from information about polling locations and how to cast a vote during COVID-19.
9:40 a.m.: South Austin Recreation Center has no lines after morning rush
Outside of the South Austin Recreation Center, located near the South Lamar Boulevard-Oltorf Street intersection, was reportedly busy when polls opened Tuesday morning but has since died down.
Gloria and Charles Saucedo campaign outside of South Austin Recreation Center on Election Day.Joe Lanane
Gloria Saucedo and her husband Charles, have set up outside of the recreation center to support Gloria's sister, Austin ISD District 2 candidate Ofelia Maldonado Zapata. The polling location is located in AISD District 2, Gloria said, and her sister is one of three candidates running for the open seat.
The couple anticipates more voters to arrive after the work day concludes around 5:30 p.m. Polls close at 7 p.m.
8:40 a.m.: East Austin polling site has no lines
Cinque Kiara sells t-shirts benefiting Carment Kiara's Youth Organization outside Carver library branch in East Austin. (Joe Lanane/Austonia)
Cinque Kiara sells custom T-shirts that encourage voting while standing outside of the Carver library branch polling location, but there weren't many voters to solicit potential donations for the Carment Kiara's Youth Organization, which benefits from the shirt sales.
According to a worker for the Julie Oliver campaign, the site had a 15-20 minute wait at the start of voting Tuesday, but voters have walked right into the East Austin library branch with no wait since the first hour of voting.
8:20 a.m.: Petitioner seeks signatures for local election reforms
Ernest Smith collects signatures for Austinites for Progressive Reform outside of the Millennium Youth Complex on Election Day. (Joe Lanane/Austonia)
There was no line to vote at Millennium Youth Complex in East Austin, with campaign volunteers outnumbering voters at this time. There was a short line right when polls opened, said Ernest Smith, a volunteer for Austinites for Progressive Reform. Smith was seeking signatures for a petition that could force several election reform initiatives on the local ballot in May 2021.
The reforms include moving the mayoral election to align with presidential election years. Austin Mayor Steve Adler was elected in 2014 in the first local race to be held in November instead of May when most local elections occur in Texas. He was reelected in 2018 during another off-presidential election.
The petition also seeks a ballot question to reform campaign finance rules and make Austin a ranked-choice voting city, the same way Maine will cast ballots Tuesday. Additionally, the reform group seeks to realign Austin's political structure to a mayor-council form of government.
Smith had less than a handful of signatures so far but anticipated more foot traffic during the lunch rush.
8 a.m.: Walk-up COVID-19 testing site is also a polling location on Election Day
Qualifying voters can vote curbside as part of a new Travis County program. (Joe Lanane/Austonia)
Givens Park, a walk-up COVID-19 testing site during the pandemic, doubles Tuesday as an Election Day polling site. A poll watcher for a civil rights group said there was a 10- to 15-minute wait when polls opened at 7 a.m. but there has been no line since.
Every polling site, including the Givens Recreation Center, offers curbside voting as part of an initiative from Travis County. That means poll workers come to your car to help qualifying voters—mostly seniors and voters with special needs—cast a ballot.
Editor's note: Addie Broyles is a longtime food writer, who wrote for the Austin American-Statesman for 13 years. This piece was published in her weekly newsletter, "The Feminist Kitchen," where she shares stories about parenthood, grief, ancestry, self healing and creativity. Check it out here.
You know Bruce McCandless' most famous moment, but you probably don't know his name.
McCandless is the astronaut who, in 1984, became the first untethered astronaut in space. He's the guy on those posters, mugs, shirts and everything else NASA could sell with the image of his "leisurely waltz with eternity," as his son calls it in his new book, "Wonders All Around: The Incredible True Story of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II and the First Untethered Flight in Space."
'Wonders All Around' is a new book by Austinite Bruce McCandless III about his dad, the astronaut Bruce McCandless II. (Bruce McCandless III)
I met McCandless III, who lives in Austin with his wife Pati, for a coffee a few months ago, thanks to the introduction from a mutual friend. As we talked about losing our dads, being writers and parents and living in Austin while still dealing with COVID, his dad's famous flight didn't come up, but the process of writing such an epic biography of a complex, only recently passed man was something worth unpacking over coffee.
I hadn't read the book yet, but over the next few weeks, I got to know the McCandless family in such a sweet way that I wanted to write a little about the book here to perhaps inspire you to seek out a copy of "Wonders All Around."
As much as this is a book about space, it's also a book about grief. And persistence. And stoicism. And masculinity and maternality.
The elder McCandless died in 2017, just a few years after losing his wife, Bernice, to cancer.
This passing of the torch from father to son left the younger McCandless inspired to take on this decades-long narrative. McCandless III sets the tone for the book with a memory of the family sitting around the dinner table at their home outside Johnson Space Center near Houston in the mid 1970s, when his dad, who joined NASA in 1966 at the age of 28, wasn't sure he'd ever actually make it to space.
"Our dinners were somber affairs. We ate around a rectangular Formica table in the breakfast nook. Tracy and I sat on benches padded with orange vinyl cushions. Mom and Dad occupied faux-Spanish style chairs with green felt upholstery. Despite the informal, Howard Johnson's-at-the-airport feel of the furnishings, there was a tension in the air that set in right around the time the frozen string beans started steaming. I had the feeling that my sister and I had forgotten to do something important, though I couldn't figure out what it was, or that judgment had been rendered on us and we'd been found guilty of … something — again, it was unclear what. Horseplay was prohibited. The TV and all sources of music or other frivolity were turned off, and singing was strictly forbidden. The only sound came from the aquarium pump. My father had a 100-gallon tank along the wall behind his chair. Sometimes the big plecostomus would attach itself by its mouth to the glass facing us, and I imagined it sucking all the oxygen out of the room."
Imagining what it must have been like to require oxygen to survive, not in outer space but in the living room with your family, sets up the story of the McCandless ancestors, including a guy who was killed by Wild Bill Hickok and the author's grandfather, who was an admiral in the U.S. Navy.
No pressure, Bruce.
It was fascinating to read about the 18 years that Bruce McCandless II worked for NASA before he finally had his first flight, which debuted the Manned Maneuvering Unit, a jet-fueled backpack that he and Ed Whitsett Jr. spent so many years developing. (That's the joystick-controlled machine he's wearing in that mind-bending poster that hung on millions of Americans' walls over the following decade.)
The author McCandless has the unenviable task of trying to put into words what that flight must have felt like. His dad flew 150 feet away from the shuttle Challenger, which would, of course, break into a million little pieces just a few years later.
When President Reagan called the shuttle to congratulate the astronauts that day in 1984, the command center set up a demonstration space walk to give the president a live view of McCandless through the shuttle window.
Bruce McCandless II, trains with Kathy Sullivan, right, in preparation to launch the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA)
The only problem was, there wasn't much fuel left. McCandless went out anyway, trying to stay within 10-15 feet of the spacecraft. He got into position and turned off the unit to preserve propellant. After the president said a few words and the video switched off, McCandless turned on the unit and "looked for the closest piece of the orbiter, pointed at it, put the hand controller in +X (and) got a sort of sighing noise as it accelerated in that direction." He ran out of fuel just as he grabbed onto a rail on the orbiter. Hand over hand, he brought himself back to the donning station.
It's that kind of suspense that made this book so thrilling to read.
There's space tension like when McCandless is operating as CAPCOM, the only person talking to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin while they are walking on the surface of the moon, and his commander wants him to break protocol and call them back early, even though there are no signs of distress.
The book is also so touching. I cried while reading about the declining health of Bernice, who survived so many astronaut wife struggles over the years and at the end of her life remained a loving partner and mother.
Bruce McCandless was a Navy pilot who was picked to join NASA in 1966. His first space flight wasn't until 1984. (NASA)
It's easy to forget that McCandless II had an entirely other memorable historic moment—launching the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990—and this one seems to have struck an even deeper chord with McCandless III.
The Hubble launch was McCandless' second and final flight. He was 52 and had worked at NASA for 24 years.
McCandless II spends the last chapters of the book making a compelling case that his dad's work to fix and update the Hubble are among the greatest achievements to science. He continued to work on Hubble for another two decades after retiring from NASA through his work at Lockheed Martin.
Bruce McCandless, left, and the flight crew that launched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. He was 52 years old. (NASA)
He was the "nuts, bolts, screws, and wires guy," the auto mechanic rather than the scientist, who kept the telescope going 340 miles above Earth for more than twice its life expectancy. The Hubble has been cited in more than 18,000 scientific papers and has revealed countless secrets and unsolved mysteries from around the universe and beyond.
"The size, shape, and sheer spectral weirdness of the images boggle the imagination and make prophets and dreamers of us all," McCandless writes toward the end of "Wonders All Around. "Some of us pay therapists to tell us we're important and unique. Then we check in with Hubble so the satellite can inform us just how galactically marginal we all are. The truth is somewhere in the middle."
What a beautiful reminder.
Austin FC looked to go 2-0 against the Colorado Rapids in their first-rematch since their breakthrough 3-1 victory in April. Instead, the club tallied yet another scoreless match at home as they lost 1-0 to the fourth-place team in the West.
Austin now sits at the bottom of the Western Conference for the second week in a row and have been shutout for 9 of their last 11 matches.
At first glance, Austin looked to have a fighting chance as they took the pitch with their healthiest lineup in weeks. With just four players on the bench and a late-game surprise appearance by left back Nick Lima, who now sports a mohawk, the club had potential to break a 225+ minute scoreless streak and notch their first back-to-back wins against a team.
Instead, the club started fast but finished slow. Austin tallied just two shots on goal to Colorado's 6 as the team continued to struggle to find an offensive identity.
Colorado's Andre Shinyashiki got past even goalkeeper Brad Stuver in the 29th minute of play to give the away team the lead. Austin was unable to bounce back in the match.
There's hope on the horizon, however: Austin's three new signees, including $6.4m striker Sebastian Driussi, are projected to join the team next week.
It's all about the Lone Star State for Austin FC next week as they compete against Texas teams Houston Dynamo at home on Wednesday and FC Dallas on the road on Saturday.
79' Nick Lima is back!
Nick Lima back at RB for the first time in weeks! https://t.co/eln9IFyoMB— Claire (@partain_claire) August 1, 2021
For the first time since a tumultuous June 24 match, right back Nick Lima is back on the pitch- this time with a new look. The defender subbed in for left back Zan Kolmanic sporting a new mohawk haircut in the 79th minute of play.
STUUUUUUUU 🗣 pic.twitter.com/tRRyGxTooK— Austin FC (@AustinFC) August 1, 2021
Brad Stuver gets the crowd yelling his name after blocking Rapids star Michael Barrios' shot with a solo save. Just after, Stuver gets his fingertips on another Barrios ball just in time to get it off track and out of the way. Either save could get Stuver on the MLS highlight reel for today's match.
40' Redes' run for goal is stymied
Redes gets his closest look of the game as he reaches the nearly-unmanned goal, but he takes a tumble just before he strikes. A ref decision says no penalty kick will be allowed, and Redes slowly rises back up with a bit of a limp.
Austin still hasn't managed to tie it up, but Cap. Alex Ring came close in the 36th minute with a header that flew just a bit too high.
29' Colorado strikes first
Austin has been near goal more often than any match in recent weeks, but it's Colorado's Andre Shinyashiki who scores first at Q2 Stadium. Austin's two defensive strongholds Matt Besler and Julio Cascante can't react quickly enough to break his stride as Shinyashiki wins over a 1v1 battle with Brad Stuver. Colorado leads for the first time in the two teams' history.
Perez gets first start for Austin
No new signees on the pitch tonight. Head coach Josh Wolff is mostly sticking to what he knows, with Manny Perez and Rodney Redes being the exception. Redes started last week against Seattle for the first time in weeks after scoring in a friendly vs. Tigres UANL of Liga MX, while Perez will have his first start with Austin tonight.
Will recent signees play tonight?
The club has stirred up new hope by signing Argentine Sebastian Driussi with their most expensive contract yet a month after another striker signing in Moussa Djitte. Austin also welcomed their first true hometown player just a day later as they signed Austinite McKinze Gaines.
Austin FC hopes to answer their scoring woes with the three players as they head into potential rivalry matches against fellow Texas teams Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas, but they might not hold any merit for Saturday's Colorado rematch. Djitte is MIA after receiving a contract in late June, and Driussi is still waiting for the go-ahead to play as he watches the match in Austin. Gaines may not have to travel far to play with the team, but it'll still be at least a few more days before he plays in front of his hometown crowd.
While all three signees aren't on tonight's roster, there's still plenty of buzz that could drum up more excitement on and off the pitch.
La Murga marches to McKalla
Austin FC fan band La Murga de Austin teamed up with supporters' groups Los Verdes and Austin Anthem as hundreds marched to Q2 Stadium two hours before the match. Hundreds of fans filed in, home opener style, to celebrate the upcoming match with brass, bass drums and plenty of fanfare.
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