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Early voting guide: Voters decide on decriminalization of weed in May 7 election

(Austonia)

Early voting for the May 7 election has begun, in which voters will have one local ballot item and two statewide items to cast a vote on.


This election is the first of two in May. The second is a Primary run-off on May 24.

Here's everything you need to know about the election before heading to the polls.

What to know before you go

Early voting lasts through May 3 with Election Day on May 7.

The time to register to vote has passed in this election, check if you are registered before heading to the polls here.

You'll need a valid photo ID to present at the polls.

Voters can head to any polling location in the county they live in to cast their ballot. There are more than 30 early voting locations in Travis County to cast a ballot.

Travis County polling locations are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Additional polling locations will be added on Election Day.

View wait times at polling locations here.

What you are voting on

The only local item on the ballot comes after a petition by Ground Game Texas won enough signatures.

Labeled Proposition A on the ballot, voters will decide on the decriminalizing of small amounts of weed and the banning of no-knock warrants in one single vote.

While less than 4 oz of weed is already decriminalized in Austin, the proposition would cement the decriminalization further by putting it in city code. This would mean police could still seize suspected marijuana, but they would not be able to charge most suspects for a marijuana offense.

And the ban on no-knock warrants would mean police could no longer utilize the option to get a warrant and show up unannounced. KUT reports there were three times last year no-knock warrants were used by Austin Police.

On the statewide items, two constitutional amendments will be on the ballot.

Proposition 1 would reduce schools' property tax bills imposed on disabled residents or those over the age of 65.

Proposition 2 would raise the homestead exemption Texans can take on their school district property taxes from $25,000 to $40,000.

Popular

With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again
Shutterstock

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide
Dwellsy

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.