Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pima County Judge Nixes State Law Changing Tucson Election Cycle

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 4:32 PM

The Arizona Republic reported today that a Pima County judge ruled yesterday afternoon that Phoenix and Tucson can retain control of their elections for mayor and city council.

The law, passed in 2012, would have required local governments to move city council and mayoral elections to even-numbered years to go with statewide elections for president and governor beginning in 2014.

Still the question remains: Why does it take a judge to remind Republicans about those old conservative values? From the Republic:

Judge James Marner determined that the law interferes with a matter of purely local concern: Phoenix and Tucson’s authority to determine how to conduct elections. He wrote that the state cannot require cities to conduct elections in a way that violates their charter, a legal document that establishes local governments.

The injunction does not apply to any of the state’s other 89 cities and towns the law could impact, according to Ken Strobeck, executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. He said the decision does, however, make it unlikely that the state will go to court or pass another law to force other cities with similar charters to comply.

But the ruling was a victory for Phoenix and Tucson leaders who feared the shift would have extended the terms of some elected officials, such as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, by several months or even a year.

Cities and towns across Arizona have objected to the law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2012, and cite a long list of potential consequences, including that local elections would become fiercely partisan or draw little attention at the bottom of a more crowded ballot.

“As mayor, I didn’t sign up to have local decisions made by legislators not elected by the people of Phoenix,” Stanton said after the ruling. “Cities need to stand up for local control.”

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