News from the Tucson Sentinel by Dylan Smith:
A three-judge panel ruled in favor of Tucson’s current election system Wednesday, saying it’s a matter of “purely local concern.”
The Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision in favor of a 2009 state law that sought to change city elections.
Members of the city council are now run in primaries by ward, but are elected city-wide. Candidates run on a partisan basis.
A 2009 law, sponsored by then-state senator Jonathan Paton, would have changed Tucson’s system to a nonpartisan, ward-only election system.
More legal analysis here from “AZBlueMeanie” at Blog for Arizona:
and from the Pima County Democratic Party:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Rogers
Chair, Pima County Democratic Party
Office – (520) 624-4700
“Court Ruling a Victory for Tucson, Repudiation of the Radical Right.
Tucson voters won a major court victory today when the state Appeals Court ruled that city residents and not lawmakers in Phoenix, get to decide how to hold their elections.
The court ruled unconstitutional a 2009 law that would have forced Tucson to hold elections concealing party affiliation from voters and required the city to vote by ward only
City voters have repeatedly rejected such propositions at the polls, making “Paton’s Law” all the more insulting to Tucsonans.
The ruling is a repudiation of former state Sen. Jonathan Paton and his southern Arizona Republican cronies, including the bill’s co-sponsor Sen. Frank Antenori who have sought to impose every bit of their extreme agenda on an unwitting public, said Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers.
“The law was an attempt to rule Tucson from Phoenix, plain and simple,” Rogers said. “Folks down here want to protect their main stream values and the court’s decision simply allows them to continue to do that.”
In their decision, judges pointed out that how cities like Tucson hold their elections is a purely local concern and that the state has no right to interfere with local issues.”
“Phoenix political bosses have declared war on Tucson,” Rogers said. “They block funds to combat border violence, prohibit the city from giving bids to the most qualified contractor and it’s our local Republican lawmakers like Paton, senators Frank Antenori and Al Melvin, who are either cheer leading or leading the way. Voters will remember that.”
Adam D. Kinsey
Pima County Democratic Party
Office – 520.326.3716
Conclusion: City of Tucson elections will stay the same for now — partisan and city-wide ward elections– unless there is an appeal to the AZ Supreme Court. The Mayor and Wards 1, 2 and 4 are up for election this November, 2011.