Update (9:40 pm): A majority of Austin voters rejected Proposition 1, the ballot measure repealing fingerprint-based background checks and other regulations passed by the City Council in December, Saturday evening by 56 percent to 44, a consistent margin that held constant since polls closed at 7 p.m.
Shortly after enough precincts were reporting, representatives for Uber and Lyft sent out emails to supporters detailing their reactions to the results and their paths forward.
In an emailed statement, Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Wilson said the company plans to “pause” its services in the city on Monday as it takes “a stand for a long-term path forward.”
“We want to thank the incredible Lyft community for all they’ve done to keep ridesharing in their city,” Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Wilson said in an emailed statement. “Thanks to each and every one of them, we took drunk drivers off the road, made it easier for residents and visitors to get around, and provided a flexible way to make ends meet. But we’re not giving up.”
Chris Nakutis, Uber’s general manager in Austin said “disappointment” does not describe how the company feels about having to shut its operations down in the city.
"For the past two years, drivers and riders made ridesharing work in this great city. We’re incredibly grateful,” Nakutis said. “From rallies to phone banking to knocking on doors, they spread the word and their support was humbling and inspiring. We hope the City Council will reconsider their ordinance so we can work together to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everyone.”
Mayor Steve Adler, who supported the December regulations and the decision to send the issue to the voters on the ballot, tweeted his support for bringing discussions between the city and the ride-hailing companies back after the results were finalized.
“The people have spoken clearly tonight. Uber & Lyft are welcome to stay & I invite them to the table regardless,” Adler tweeted. “Austin is an innovative, creative city. Right now, we're going to need to be at our most innovative & creative.”
Original story: Early voting totals for Saturday’s election have Proposition 1 failing 56 to 44, implying voters seem more inclined to keeping stricter fingerprint-based background checks in place rather than repealing current city law.
According to preliminary results from the Travis County Clerk’s Office, 56.03 percent of early voters rejected the proposition — which would repeal stricter guidelines for ride-hailing companies approved by the city council in December — to 43.97 percent with 10 percent of all registered voters casting ballots during that period.
With 13 percent of all election day precincts reporting, election day voters were more lopsided in their opposition, voting the proposition down 62.28 to 37.72 percent, according to results from the clerk’s office.
Saturday’s election represents the most expensive municipal election in city history, with Ridesharing Works for Austin — the political action committee financially backing the proposition — spending nearly $9 million, primarily from donations from the two ride-hailing companies.
In 2014, current Mayor Steve Adler spent around $1.2 million in his campaign, the record for campaign spending at the time.
Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice raised around $88,000 in its opposition to the proposition.
Both Lyft and Uber have said the plan to pull their services out of the city on Monday at 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. if the proposition fails.