One in Ten Texas Voters Cast Ballots Approving 7 Constitutional Amendments
AUSTIN, TX -- All seven constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot were on their way to approval by Texas voters, according to results released Tuesday evening by the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
With roughly 83 percent of precincts reporting, less than 5 percent of the state's 15 million eligible voters had cast ballots for Tuesday's election — a decrease from 2015's constitutional amendment election, when voter turnout was at approximately 11 percent.
Almost 70 percent of voters approved of Proposition 2, which would ease restrictions on borrowing against home equity in Texas and allow Texans easier access to their equity. The proposition also would lower the maximum fees that can be charged in connection with home equity loans and would exempt certain charges from the calculation of that maximum.
Proposition 1 would authorize property tax exemptions for certain partially disabled veterans or their surviving spouses — those whose homes were donated to them by charity for less than market value. As of late Tuesday evening, it was passing with more than 85 percent of the vote.
Proposition 6, which would give property tax exemptions to surviving spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty and was one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's legislative priorities for the 2017 regular session, was winning with 84 percent of the vote.
Turnout in constitutional amendment elections historically has been low. In 2013, only 1.1 million voted. In 2011, only 690,052 Texans showed up — of the 12.8 million who were registered to vote at the time — to vote on 10 amendments.
Any changes to the Texas Constitution must be approved by a majority of Texas voters. Getting a proposed amendment on the ballot requires support from more than two-thirds of both chambers of the Legislature.
Several contentious local issues were also on ballots across the state. With 72 percent of the vote recorded, Austin voters were on their way to approving a $1.1 billion Austin Independent School District bond to improve deteriorating campus infrastructure, address overcrowding and build more than a dozen schools.
In Dallas County, 56 percent of voters were against a measure that would have kept alive Dallas County Schools, a troubled school transportation provider. And a majority of Buda voters — 67 percent — rejected a city proposal to reintroduce fluoride into their tap water.
Katie Riordan contributed to this report.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune HERE.