A Texas Constitutional Amendment 'Do Over': Understanding Changes in the Political Environment in a Decade
Texas voters rarely defeat the constitutional amendments sent to them by the legislature. In 2011, three ballot questions failed, among them Proposition 4, the Texas County Redevelopment Bond Amendment. Proposition 4 was defeated with 59.71 percent of voters casting votes against the proposition. Texas voters defeated only one amendment in the next decade, the "Allowed to Serve as Multiple Judges Amendment" in 2019. In 2021, voters approved Proposition 2, the "Authorize Counties to Issue Infrastructure Bonds in Blighted Areas Amendment." Proposition 2 had the support of 63.09 percent of voters in 2021. Proposition 2 approved in 2021 is identical to Proposition 4 defeated 10 years earlier. This research examines the political environment at the county-level to determine what changed in Texas to allow a constitutional amendment to succeed on a rare "do over" with voters. Using OLS regression techniques, the paper considers issues of partisan change, economic change, and the growth of suburbs in Texas. The research particularly is important because constitutional amendments rarely lose so there is little need for a "do over." In addition, the ballot question is the subject of a lawsuit filed by conservative political groups because they believe that the question lacked accurate information.