New initiative seeks to change Tucson City Council races to ward-only election

Tucson City Council


By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media via Arizond Daily Star

Unable to get courts to void Tucson’s current City Council election system, a group is now taking its case for ward-only elections directly to voters.

A new initiative drive would scrap a provision in the city charter that sets up the current “modified ward” system where candidates are nominated from the wards in which they live but have to survive a citywide vote to get elected. The amended charter, if approved, would make all future elections ward-only affairs.

Backers have until July 5 to get 9,241 valid signatures on petitions to put the issue on the November 2019 ballot.

The drive is being led by John Holden, a former Republican precinct committeeman and GOP chairman for Legislative District 3.

He said the current system, in the city charter since the 1930s, can result in situations where the person who gets the most votes in a ward-only primary can’t win a city-wide general election. In fact, Holden said, the person who is elected may not even get a majority within his or her home ward, with votes from the other five wards overwhelming the local residents.


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December 2018