Dozens of local and county officials are asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would force cities to consolidate their election dates with the state. The officials appealed to Brewer’s background as a county supervisor and secretary of state, asking her to help cities maintain local control of their elections. They argued that HB2826 would stamp out local control, politicize non-partisan elections and increase election costs. HB2826 would force all cities in Arizona to hold their primary and general elections for candidates in even-numbered years beginning in 2014, at the same time as state and federal elections. 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.
“Throughout your term of office, you have demonstrated appreciation for the challenges of municipal governance, respect for the value of local authority and hostility toward the notion that Arizona’s diverse cities and towns require micromanagement from the Legislature,” Strobeck said in a letter to Brewer. “It is only with the utmost gratitude for your efforts to date that the League respectfully requests that you once again act in the interest of local government by exercising your power to veto HB2826.”
The election officials and the Arizona Association of Counties argued that the bill would put additional costs on some cities and counties by requiring them to buy new election equipment and print multiple types of ballots, especially in smaller towns. Some cities, such as Prescott, said they already have high voter turnout, while others emphasized that the bill would force them to change election dates that have been in place for decades.