© 2020 Scull et al. The sequence of the DNA template has long been thought to influence the rate of transcription by DNA-dependent RNA polymerases, but the influence of DNA sequence on transcription elongation properties of eukaryotic RNA polymerase I (Pol I) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae has not been defined. In this study, we observe changes in dinucleotide production, transcription elongation complex stability, and Pol I pausing in vitro in response to downstream DNA. In vitro studies demonstrate that AT-rich downstream DNA enhances pausing by Pol I and inhibits Pol I nucleolytic cleavage activity. Analysis of Pol I native elongating transcript sequencing data in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that these downstream sequence elements influence Pol I in vivo. Native elongating transcript sequencing studies reveal that Pol I occupancy increases as downstream AT content increases and decreases as downstream GC content increases. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the downstream DNA sequence directly impacts the kinetics of transcription elongation prior to the sequence entering the active site of Pol I both in vivo and in vitro.