August 27, 2020 / Modified aug 27, 2020 5:24 p.m.

Tucson election date challenged in court

The state Attorney General wants to force Tucson to change when its elections are held.

City Hall Tucson City Hall
Nick O'Gara/AZPM

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the state Supreme Court to force the city of Tucson to hold its elections on even-numbered years. Currently, Tucson holds elections for the mayor and council on odd-numbered years.

In 2018, the Legislature passed a law requiring local elections to be held on even-numbered years if turnout on odd-numbered years was 25% lower than even-numbered years.

In July, Brnovich found that Tucson violated that law. He is now asking the Supreme Court to back up that finding and force the city to hold local elections on even-numbered years.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued a statement about Brnovich's complaint in the Supreme Court calling it, "another politically motivated attempt by Phoenix-area state legislators to micromanage and undermine our ability to self-govern as a city."

In 2012, the Legislature passed a law trying to force Tucson to hold its elections on even-numbered years but it did not include the voter-turnout provision.

Tucson went to court over that law and won the right to keep its elections on odd-numbered years. Part of the reasoning for that decision is the fact that Tucson is a charter city.

The charter city status let Tucson withstand a court challenge over the way it elects members to the City Council. In the primary, City Council members are elected within the ward they want to represent, but in the general election they must be elected citywide.

Tucson’s next city election is scheduled for 2021.


Eds.: This story was updated after publication to include comment from Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

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