Court rules state’s charter cities can pick own election dates

Tucson City Hall/Flickr

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

The Arizona Supreme Court has once again slapped down efforts by lawmakers to tell Tucson — and all the state’s charter cities including Casa Grande — when they can have their elections.

In a 5-1 ruling Wednesday, the justices rejected arguments by Attorney General Mark Brnovich that a 2018 law requiring cities to select their mayors and council members to coincide with statewide elections is unconstitutional.

Justice Ann Scott Timmer, writing for the majority, said the Arizona Constitution clearly gives cities that have adopted their own charters “autonomy over matters of purely municipal concern.” And she said when cities run local elections fits that definition.

The justices brushed aside claims that the 2018 law does have a statewide interest because the turnout is higher in statewide elections. Brnovich argued that low turnout adversely affects the fundamental right to vote.

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