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.
After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.