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Arizona court rules for Tucson in election date dispute

April 14, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a case involving Tucson that a state law on local election dates unconstitutionally tramples the the autonomy of so-called charter cities.

The state high court’s 5-1 ruling decides a dispute between Tucson and the state Legislature by letting the city proceed with holding its election for three City Council positions in 2021 instead of an even-numbered year.

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Tucson’s election plans may violate a 2018 law requiring cities to hold their elections in even-numbered years if their off-year elections show a significantly lower turnout.

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But the court ruled that the 2018 law conflicts with a state constitutional provision giving charter cities autonomy over matters of purely local concern because when to hold city elections is a local issue, not a statewide concern.

Tucson officials had said legislators couldn’t tell the city when to hold its elections, and the city scheduled its primary election for Aug. 3 and its general election for Nov. 2.