Insisting they know better, state lawmakers voted Monday to limit local elections to just two days every two years. 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. “Local rule is still the best rule,” complained Rep. Cecil Ash, R-Mesa. It also presages a legal fight.
Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, pointed out that earlier this month the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the Legislature has no right to interfere with how charter cities run their local elections. The justices said these are issues of strictly local concern. And Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said he believes the measure, if implemented, would reduce minority voting, something he said runs afoul of the federal Voting Rights Act. Gallego announced Monday he intends to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to intercede.
The next move is up to Gov. Jan Brewer, as the Senate already has approved the measure.
Central to the question is voter turnout. Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, said existing law lets communities have elections four times a year, every year: March, May, late August or early September depending on the calendar, and November.
The result, she said, has been low turnout.
Full Article: Bill limiting local election dates goes to governor.