SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio voters are just a day away from deciding the fate of a contentious ballot measure, Proposition B, and both sides are trying to make their last-minute cases to voters.
Prop B would strip San Antonio police officers of the power to collectively bargain for a contract. Supporters of the ballot measure believe it’s a step toward more officer accountability, while opponents say it could make it harder to recruit and retain officers.
The rhetoric is still flying, especially online, but many have already cast their ballots. The 101,241 ballots cast already county-wide was a record-breaking turnout for early voting in a spring election.
Still, many voters prefer the tradition of casting their ballot on Election Day, and Ananda Tomas, the deputy director of Fix SAPD, the activist group that got Prop B onto the ballot, says the goal now is voter contact, whether it’s by block-walking, phone banking, texting, or pushing out social media ads.
“Honestly, whether it’s at the polling locations or at the doors or on the phone, when I’m able to have a conversation and explain Prop B and answer folks questions, they are with us 70% of the time,” Tomas said as she knocked on doors in a neighborhood near Woodlawn Lake.
Fix SAPD will have members out at the polls Saturday, too, as will the San Antonio Police Officers Association, the main opposition to Prop B.
“Please go talk to these officers,” Sgt. Tina Baron said during a Friday news conference at SAPOA headquarters. “Go talk to them and their families. If you have questions, we’re there for you.”
At the news conference, the union appeared to be trying to shift focus from the kind of misconduct cases Fix SAPD has highlighted as part of its campaign by instead putting forward officers who have faced injury and the death of friends or family on the job.
Officer Julio Cavazos, who was injured in a 2017 shootout with a car burglary suspect that left his partner Miguel Moreno dead, urged voters to vote against Prop B.
“Thank you for all the citizens of San Antonio that love their police department, because we love you just as much,” Cavazos said.
Both the union and Fix SAPD think the record-breaking voter turnout is probably related to the Prop B election, which has taken center stage over a much milder Mayor’s race than two years ago.
“You know, when I go and speak to people at the doors or even at polling locations, that’s what they’ve heard about. That’s what they’re excited about,” Tomas said.
Rep. Joaquin Castro also expressed his support on Twitter for Prop B. See what he had to say below:
🚨 @Castro4Congress is encouraging San Antonians to #VoteFORPropB on #ElectionDay May 1st.— Fix SAPD (@fixsapd) April 30, 2021
"This is about fixing the system because the system has the wrong incentives, and it lets people get away with what can be very bad behavior and very bad conduct." pic.twitter.com/MAL6ukK4j7
We’ll see Saturday evening if more voters were excited to vote it in or vote it down.