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Voter turnout down from previous off-year elections

Published 11:00am Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Voter turnout may be down compared to previous special election years, but Austin Public Schools officials are surprised by how people voted.

Only 2,990 residents voted Tuesday on a $1 million, 10-year operating levy for the district, compared to 5,515 voters in 2011 and 4,306 voters in 2009. Yet previous elections usually had other issues, such as school board races or the $28.9 million referendum to build I.J. Holton Intermediate School in 2011, according to Mark Stotts, district finance director.

“This is one of the few times that this has been the only thing [on the ballot],” Stotts said. “We didn’t have school board elections or anything.”

Yet Stotts was surprised by the amount of support the levy received. In previous years, despite low voter turnout, thousands of people would vote against whatever issue the district brought to voters. In 2011, the $28.9 million referendum passed 2,971 to 2,543. Yet a little more than 80 percent of voters supported the referendum this year.

“I don’t know what kind of conclusion to draw from that,” Stotts said.

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