AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early voting for the May election begins 7 a.m. Monday.
Austin voters will make a decision on Proposition One, which will determine if ridesharing drivers have to undergo mandatory fingerprint background checks.
Voting for Prop 1
Voting “yes” on the proposition means standard background checks for these drivers will continue. Those checks do not include fingerprinting. The current regulations mandating criminal background check for ridesharing drivers would stay in place.
The former Austin Mayor, Lee Leffingwell, became the new leader of Ridesharing Works. Leffingwell said the current rules in place for companies like Uber and Lyft already employ “stringent background ground checks while helping reduce DWI accidents and providing safe, reliable rides for Austinites.”
Uber and Lyft have shared their strong stance against fingerprint background checks. Both ridesharing companies have threatened to leave Austin if the proposition fails.
Voting against Prop 1
A vote of “no” means these drivers will be required to go through fingerprint background checks in addition to criminal background checks.
During SXSW taxi drivers joined the debate saying Uber is bullying the city into adopting their ridesharing ordinances. “Uber and Lyft have purchased a May 7 election for voters to decide on whether the City Council or big corporations should write the ordinance that governs ride-sharing companies,” said Dave Passmore, President of the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin.
Mayor Steve Adler announced Monday he is against Prop 1. “After the election is over, we’ll need to be at our most innovative, creative, and collaborative to simultaneously keep Uber and Lyft in town,” said Adler. “Keep Austin local and best provide for public safety.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now weighing in on the highly debated issue. They sent a letter to the mayor saying if ridesharing companies leave Austin it could prevent the city from being eligible as a finalist for the Smart City Challenge. The challenge has $40 million up for grabs for the winning city, which would be used to implement new technologies, like driver-less cars to improve transportation.
Early voting ends Tuesday, May 3. Election day is Saturday, May 7.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check for the closest polling location in your area.