Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In early April, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously rejected 'Paton's Law', an attempt by the state legislature to dictate to the Charter City of Tucson how it must conduct its elections. The Arizona Supreme Court held that charter cities have rights under the Arizona Constitution upon which the state legislature cannot tread without a substantial state interest. It was a victory for local control over micromanagement by an increasingly tyrannical state legislature.
Both the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Republic in editorials hailed the court's decision as a victory for local control over micromanagment by an out-of-touch state legislature.
Did the state legislature finally learn its lesson? Of course not.
Insisting they know better, state lawmakers voted Monday to limit local elections to just two days every two years. Bill limiting local election dates goes to governor:
HB 2826 says, with only a few exceptions, cities, counties, school districts and other government entities could have their elections only at the same time as the state. That means the same days as the statewide primary, which usually occurs in late August, and the general election in November.
The 32-28 House vote came over the objections of lawmakers from both parties who questioned why the state should overrule what local communities have decided.
The sponsor of the bill is Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale), a water-carrier for that institute for wingnut authoritarianism, the Goldwater Institute:
Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute said [voter turnout is] more than an academic question. He sees the disparate election dates as a way special interests can get what they want by way of how elections are scheduled.
And what is the Goldwater institute really concerned about? Low voter turnout in local bond elections in which voters approve new government spending. (I believe the Goldwater Institute is also behind the bill requiring a super-majority of 60% voter approval to approve any new spending in bond elections, essentially empowering a minority of anti-tax, anti-government zealots like those at the Goldwater Institute with a veto power). If you think the City of Tucson's infrastructure is crumbling now, just wait to see what happens if the institute for wingnut authoritarianism gets its way.
This bill invites another lawsuit. It is part of the make-work agreement that Tea-Publicans have with the Goldwater Institute to keep their attorneys in full employment pursuing frivolous ideological extremism in the courts.
In the recent Supreme Court decision about the rights of the state's 19 charter cities, the court said the conduct of their own elections is a constitutional right granted to those cities, one that the Legislature cannot override without a significant statewide reason.
In that case, the court rejected the state's contention it was entitled to force Tucson to run its City Council races on a nonpartisan basis, and found the city's method of nominating council members by ward but electing them on a citywide basis was none of the state's concern.
Call Gov. Jan Brewer's Tucson office at 628-6580, or call Phoenix toll-free at 1-800-253-0883. Or email her using the form on her website: azgovernor.gov/contact.asp
UPDATE: The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Cities, counties urge Brewer to veto consolidated elections bill | Arizona Capitol Times:
Twenty-seven county election officials signed a letter to Brewer, urging her to veto the bill. At least 40 of the 76 municipalities that would be affected, along with the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, also sent letters to the governor, according to Ken Strobeck, the league’s executive director.
The Arizona Daily Star editorializes GOP legislators would usurp local control of voting.