Harry v. City of Austin (Election Contest)

On December 17, 2015, the City of Austin voted 9-2 to dramatically increase regulations over transportation network companies (“TNCs”).  In January 2016, citizens signed a petition to repeal the ordinance passed in December and to approve a different ordinance.  In February 2016, the Austin City Council voted against the proposed ordinance and, as required by the City Charter, scheduled an election to allow voters to decide whether to approve or reject it.  The City Council never reconsidered the December 2015 ordinance citizens requested to be repealed, however, and never suspended action under it.

The City Council, on a 9-2 vote, set the ballot language for Proposition 1.  The City Council drafted the proposition as a vote for or against the proposition to amend the city code.  By law, however, the City Council is required to form the ballot as a vote “for the ordinance” and “against the ordinance.”  Also, the ballot form omitted the caption of the ordinance to be voted on, as required by law.

On May 7, 2016, the City of Austin held a special election on Proposition 1.  A majority of Austin voters voted “against the ordinance.”

On May 10, 2016, Martin Harry, believing the outcome did not necessarily reflect the will of the voters, filed an election contest, challenging the form and language of the ballot.  The Original Petition and Memorandum of Law filed with the Travis County District Court are linked below:

Prop 1 Original Petition                                                                     OTHER LINKS:  

Prop 1 Memorandum of Law                                                          Confused about Prop 1?

Appendix A                                                                                           David Plouffe on the Uber standoff in Austin                                 

Appendix B                                                                                           What’s Next for the city of Austin

Appendix C                                                                                            Second election contest filed

Appendix D

Appendix E

Supplemental Petition with exhibits (filed 6/11/16)

On February 28, 2017, the City of Austin filed a motion for summary judgment.  On March 22, 2017, Martin Harry filed a response and cross-motion for summary judgment. The court has scheduled oral argument on the City’s motion on April 20, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.

City of Austin Motion for Summary Judgment

Martin Harry’s Response and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment