TUCSON, Ariz. — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed itself and ruled that Tucson’s local elections system for city council races is constitutional.
A ruling Friday by an 11-judge panel erases a three-judge panel’s earlier decision by ruling that the hybrid system used by Arizona’s second most populous city doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution’s commitment to one vote per person.
The city is divided into six wards, and residents can only vote for candidates in their ward during primary elections. But they can vote for any council candidate during general elections.
The three-judge panel had ruled that the system put many voters at a disadvantage by giving the upper hand to Democratic candidates in the largely Democrat city.
The latest ruling says Tucson can justify its electoral system’s design.