Tucson's Election Cycle 'May' Violate State Law

Published: Friday, July 17, 2020 - 6:24pm
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2020 - 12:04pm
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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich says Tucson’s odd-year elections may violate state law.

Tucson holds its own local elections in odd-numbered years, as opposed to more traditional even-year elections for statewide office.

Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) asked Brnovich to investigate whether those elections conflict with state law. Mesnard sponsored a bill in 2018 that declares cities must hold elections to coincide with statewide races if voter turnout in those cities falls below a particular level.

Voter turnout in Tucson’s 2019 election fell below that threshold.

Mesnard’s bill, which was passed into law, says that ensuring high voter turnout is a matter of statewide concern. And he argues holding elections during even-numbered years will boost turnout in Tucson.

Brnovich sided with Mesnard in finding that Tucson’s election schedule “may” violate state law. Now Brnovich is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to settle the issue by declaring the city’s election ordinance void.

Attorneys for Tucson argue their schedule is protected by their voter-approved charter, which declares the election schedule is a matter of local concern. 

The Show spoke with Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services for more background on the case.

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