City of Tuscon v. State

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Justia Opinion Summary

In 2009, the Arizona Legislature amended Ariz. Rev. Stat. 9-821.01, which, as amended, barred a city from electing its city council in partisan elections or in ward-based primaries combined with at-large general elections. The City of Tuscon filed this case against the State, claiming that the amendments to section 9-821.01 did not apply to it as a charter city. The superior court entered judgment for the State. The Supreme Court reversed the superior court's judgment, holding that because Arizona's Constitution includes a provision authorizing eligible cities to adopt charters, and because a charter city has the power to frame its own organic law, including the power to determine who its governing officers shall be and how they shall be selected, section 9-821.01, as amended, did not displace the method that voters of the City of Tuscon chose under its 1929 charter for electing council members. Remanded to the superior court for entry of summary judgment in favor of the City of Tuscon.

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SUPREME COURT OF ARIZONA En Banc CITY OF TUCSON, a municipal corporation, ) ) ) Plaintiff/Appellant, ) ) v. ) ) STATE OF ARIZONA, ) ) Defendant/Appellee, ) ) and ) ) SOUTHERN ARIZONA LEADERSHIP ) COUNCIL and SENATOR JONATHAN ) PATON, ) ) Defendant-Intervenors/Appellees. ) ) __________________________________) Arizona Supreme Court No. CV-11-0150-PR Court of Appeals Division Two No. 2 CA-CV 10-0083 Pima County Superior Court No. C20097207 O P I N I O N Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County The Honorable Michael Owen Miller, Judge REVERSED AND REMANDED ________________________________________________________________ Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division Two 226 Ariz. 474, 250 P.3d 251 (App. 2011) VACATED ________________________________________________________________ THOMAS C. HORNE, ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL By James E. Barton II David R. Cole, Solicitor General Attorneys for State of Arizona MICHAEL G. RANKIN, TUCSON CITY ATTORNEY By Dennis P. McLaughlin, Principal Assistant City Attorney Attorneys for City of Tucson Phoenix Tucson LEWIS AND ROCA LLP By John Hinderaker Jeffrey L. Sklar S.L. Schorr Kimberly A. Demarchi Attorneys for Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Jonathan Paton Tucson Phoenix BERKE LAW FIRM, PLLC Phoenix By Ellen M. Van Riper Attorney for Amicus Curiae League of Arizona Cities and Towns ________________________________________________________________ B A L E S, Justice ¶1 Since statehood, Arizona s Constitution has included a home rule charters. power to provision authorizing eligible Ariz. Const. art. 13, § 2. frame its own organic law, cities to adopt A charter city has the including the power to determine who shall be its governing officers and how they shall be selected. Strode v. Sullivan, 72 Ariz. 360, 368, 236 P.2d 48, 54 (1951). Based on these principles, we hold that A.R.S. § 9-821.01, as amended in 2009, does not displace the method that voters of the City of Tucson chose under its 1929 charter for electing council members. I. ¶2 based Tucson primary city elections general elections. selects general council nominees election but members elected are in nominated at-large in ward- (city-wide) These elections are partisan: the primary for particular ballot political identifies 2 parties candidates and by the party affiliation. Tucson has used this system since adopting its current city charter in 1929. ¶3 In 2009, the Arizona Legislature amended A.R.S. § 9- 821.01 to provide that cities and towns shall not hold any election on candidates for which there is any indication on the ballot of the source of the candidacy or of the support of the candidate. Id. § 9-821.01(B); 2009 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 176, § 1 (1st Reg. Sess.). The same amendment added § 9-821.01(C), stating: Notwithstanding any other law, for any city or town that provides for election of city or town council members by district, ward, precinct or other geographical designation, only those voters who are qualified electors of the district, ward, precinct or other geographic designation are eligible to vote for that council member candidate in the city or town's primary, general, runoff or other election. As amended, § 9-821.01 thus bars a city from electing its city council in partisan elections or in ward-based primaries combined with at-large general elections. ¶4 The City of Tucson filed this case against the State, claiming that the amendments to § 9-821.01 do not apply to it as a charter city. The Southern Arizona Leadership Council and former Senator Jonathan Paton (collectively SALC ) intervened as defendants. On cross-motions for summary superior court entered judgment for the State. 3 judgment, the ¶5 A divided court of appeals reversed, ruling that A.R.S. § 9-821.01 conflicts with the Tucson Charter and that the city s method of selecting its council members is a purely local issue that cannot be preempted by state law. City of Tucson v. State, 226 Ariz. 474, 476-80 ¶¶ 7-24, 250 P.3d 251, 253-57 (App. 2011). The dissenting judge concluded that the legislature can displace Tucson s use of a ward-based primary combined with an at-large general election. 258-61 (Espinosa, J., Id. at 481-84 ¶¶ 29-37, 250 P.3d at dissenting in part and concurring in part). ¶6 issues We of granted statewide review because importance. this The case Court involves has legal jurisdiction under Article 6, Section 5(3) of the Arizona Constitution and A.R.S. § 12-120.24 (2009). II. A. ¶7 Nineteenth century case law and legal commentary generally viewed cities and towns as entirely subordinate to and dependent authority. on the state s legislature for any governmental See, e.g., Lynn A. Baker & Daniel B. Rodriguez, Constitutional Home Rule and Judicial Scrutiny, 86 Den. U. L. Rev. 1337, 1340 (2009) (noting near consensus view that municipalities had only those powers delegated to them by state legislatures ); David J. Barron, Reclaiming Home Rule, 116 Harv. 4 L. Rev. 2255, 2277-88 (2003) (describing nineteenth century views of local government and rise of home rule movement). ¶8 The framers of Arizona s Constitution, however, rejected that view, valuing local autonomy. See Toni McClory, Understanding (2d Arizona s Constitution 178 ed. 2010). Accordingly, Arizona s Constitution bars the state legislature from enacting local [i]ncorporation of their Ariz. charters, or cities, special towns, Const. art. laws with respect or villages, or 4, pt. 19(17), 2, § to amending and requires the legislature, by general laws, [to] provide for the incorporation and organization of cities and towns and for the classification population. ¶9 of such cities and towns in proportion to Id. art. 13, § 1. More importantly, our Constitution also permits any city of more than 3500 people to frame a charter for its own government consistent with, and subject to, the Constitution and the laws of the state. Id. art. 13, § 2. The purpose of the home rule charter provision of the Constitution was to render the cities adopting such charter provisions independent of state legislation as was possible. as nearly City of Tucson v. Walker, 60 Ariz. 232, 239, 135 P.2d 223, 226 (1943) (quoting Axberg v. City of Lincoln, 2 N.W.2d 613, 614 15 (Neb. 1942)). 5 ¶10 the Upon approval by the city s voters and the governor, charter shall become the organic supersede any charter then existing thereto), and all charter. Ariz. Const. art. 13, § 2. ordinances law of (and inconsistent such all city and amendments with said new Thus, under Arizona s Constitution, eligible cities may adopt a charter effectively, a local constitution for their own government without action by the state legislature. powers from Legislature concern. the as [A] home rule city deriving its Constitution to all is subjects independent of of strictly the local state municipal City of Tucson v. Tucson Sunshine Climate Club, 64 Ariz. 1, 8-9, 164 P.2d 598, 602 (1945); see Buntman v. City of Phoenix, 32 Ariz. 18, 25-27, 255 P. 490, 492-93 (1927) (holding that city charter provided legislative authorization for municipal operation of railway under Ariz. Const. art. 2, § 34); The Records of the Arizona Constitutional Convention of 1910 515 (John S. Goff ed., 1991) [hereinafter Records] (statement of sponsoring delegate noting that charter provision relieved cities of need to go to the legislature for a charter ); John D. Leshy, The Arizona State Constitution 265-66 (1993). ¶11 There are nineteen charter cities in Arizona, ranging from Yuma in the southwest to Holbrook in the northeast, and including the former territorial capital Prescott, Flagstaff, the border cities Nogales and Douglas, and several 6 cities in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.1 a distinctive charter establishing the Each city has structure of its government and identifying its various city officials and their manner of selection. Charter Government See Arizona League of Cities and Towns, Provisions in Arizona Cities Government] (tables comparing [hereinafter Charter governmental structure). charter municipalities In are concerning local government. contrast, some governed by 12-15 (2005) cities seventy-one general in non- statutes McClory, supra ¶ 8, at 178; see Jan Brewer, The Arizona Blue Book 160-70 (2007-08 ed.) (listing incorporated Arizona cities and towns in 2007). B. ¶12 they Arizona elect generally charter cities city councils. their selected council differ significantly Before members then statehood, referred in how cities to as aldermen - by wards, that is, each was elected from a particular district within the city. See 1901 Territorial Code (providing for election of two aldermen from each ward). § 625 But the Progressive reform movement that influenced the framing of Arizona s Constitution, see, e.g., McClory, supra ¶ 8, at 25-26,                                                              1 The charter cities are Avondale, Bisbee, Casa Grande, Chandler, Douglas, Flagstaff, Glendale, Goodyear, Holbrook, Mesa, Nogales, Peoria, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, Winslow, and Yuma. McClory, supra ¶ 8, at 178 & n.31. 7 also affected municipal government. Groups such as the National Municipal League (now the National Civic League) advocated for the election of city councils in at-large, nonpartisan elections, contending that ward-based election systems resulted in city governments susceptible to control by political bosses, corruption, and parochial neighborhood interests. id. See at 179-80; H. George Frederickson, Curtis Wood, & Brett Logan, How American City Governments Have Changed: The Evolution of the Model City Charter, 90 Nat l Civic Rev. 3 (2001). ¶13 Many of Arizona s charter cities adopted at-large elections for their city councils, and twelve currently use this method. Charter Government at 12-15. Over time, however, there has been renewed support for district-based council elections. Proponents contend that at-large elections may be used to deny representation to particular groups, such as concentrated populations of minority or low-income residents, or may result in the neglect of neighborhood interests. ¶14 Some cities that had adopted at-large elections later reinstituted district-based elections. adopted at-large government elections reform effort. America 142 (1981). Phoenix, for example, in 1948 as part See Carl Abbott, of The a good New Urban In 1982, Phoenix voters amended its charter to restore district-based council elections after a grassroots campaign argued this change would 8 increase minority and neighborhood representation. also Carl (describing Abbott, adoption The of McClory, supra ¶8, at 181; see Metropolitan Frontier district-based council various western cities, including Phoenix). 104-07 (1993) elections in Six of Arizona s charter cities now elect their city councils on a district or ward basis. ¶15 Charter Provisions at 11.2 Arizona s Constitution and statutes regarding municipalities do not express a preference between at-large or district-based council elections. See generally A.R.S. §§ 9- 232.04, 9-273 (allowing non-charter cities and towns to choose between at-large and district-based council elections). This flexibility recognizes that each form of election has possible advantages and disadvantages; for example, although at-large members are responsible to electors in the entire city, this may diminish attention to the interests of particular neighborhoods or groups; district-based elections, in contrast, assure representation from different geographic areas but may elevate particular interests over citywide ones.                                                              2 Nationally, more than 64 percent of municipalities use atlarge council elections in some way, while about 14 percent use district-based elections and 21 percent use a combined system. See National League of Cities, Cities 101: Municipal Elections (2010), available at www.nlc.org/build-skillsnetworks/resources/cities-101/municipal-elections. 9 ¶16 Tucson is unique among Arizona s charter cities in its method for selecting council members. Adopted in 1929, the Tucson charter provides: Beginning in the year 1930, and continuing thereafter, the mayor shall be nominated from and elected by the voters of the city at large, and the councilmen shall be nominated each from, and by the respective voters of, the ward in which he resides, and shall be elected by the voters of the city at large. Tucson City Charter Chapter XVI, § 9. The primary and general elections for council members are partisan. Tucson thus uses a hybrid election system: Council members are nominated by ward, so that the council includes members from different geographic regions of the city, see id. § 5, but they are elected by all the city s voters in the general election. ¶17 In November 1991, Tucson voters rejected a proposal to replace at-large elections. general elections with district-based Two years later, they rejected a proposal to change from partisan to non-partisan elections. C. ¶18 More than sixty years ago, this Court considered a charter city s Strode, which authority involved the Phoenix adopted in 1912. (1912). State to statutes structure its non-partisan own government election system in that See Phoenix City Charter Chapter XII then generally entitled political parties to be represented on ballots for state, county, and city 10 offices. Strode at 361-62, 236 P.2d at 49-50. The Court, however, held that these statutes did not displace the Phoenix charter, which provided that nothing on the ballot shall be indicative of the source of the candidacy or the support of any candidate. Id. at 363, 236 P.2d at 50 (quoting Phoenix City Charter Chapter XII, sec. 9). ¶19 city Strode recognized that Article 13, Section 2 requires charters to be consistent with, and Constitution and the laws of the state. subject to, the This provision, the Court held, does not subject charter cities to the legislature s plenary power. 72 Ariz. at 365, 236 P.2d at 51. Instead, the phrase laws of the state refers to laws addressing matters of statewide interest rather than local concern. City of Wewoka v. Rodman, 46 P.2d 334, 335 Id. (citing (Okla. 1935)). Reviewing prior decisions, the Court in Strode explained: [T]his court has uniformly held that a city charter, when regularly adopted and approved, becomes the organic law of the city and the provisions of the charter supersede all laws of the state in conflict with such charter provisions insofar as such laws relate to purely municipal affairs. Id. at 365, 236 P.2d at 51; see also City of Tucson v. Walker, 60 Ariz. at 239, 135 P.2d at 226 (observing that where the legislative act deals with a strictly local municipal concern, it can have no application to a city which has adopted a home rule charter ) (quoting Axberg, 2 N.W.2d at 615.). 11 ¶20 Consistent with earlier decisions, the Court in Strode applied a displace matter formalistic charter is provisions characterized interest. be analysis: whether depends as of on general whether statewide 72 Ariz. at 365, 236 P.2d at 51. problematic in application. See Note, or state the laws subject purely local This approach can Conflicts between State Statutes and Municipal Ordinances, 72 Harv. L. Rev. 737, 740-43 (1959) (discussing challenges local courts matters have to in identifying exclusively home rule). The concepts of local versus statewide interest do not have self-evident definitions. subject faced municipal Many municipal issues will be of both local and state concern, and distinguishing between matters that are properly subject to local versus state control often involves case-specific line drawing. Strode recognized as much, noting that [s]ome difference of opinion is evidenced in the reported cases as to what activities of a charter city are of local interest or concern and therefore free from legislative interference. 72 Ariz. at 366, 236 P.2d at 52; cf. Baker & Rodriguez, supra ¶ 7, at 1344 (observing that the task of discerning what is or is not a local affair is necessarily ad hoc ). ¶21 matters But whatever the general difficulties in identifying of local concern, Strode 12 is absolutely clear that charter city governments enjoy autonomy with respect to structuring their own governments. The framers of the Constitution, in authorizing a qualified city to frame a charter for its own government, certainly contemplated the need for officers and the necessity of a procedure for their selection. These are essentials which are confronted at the very inception of any undertaking looking toward the preparation of a governmental structure. We can conceive of no essentials more inherently of local interest or concern to the electors of a city than who shall be its governing officers and how they shall be selected. 72 Ariz. at 368, 236 P.2d at 54 (emphasis added). ¶22 Underscoring this point, the Court said: We therefore specifically hold that the method and manner of conducting elections in the city of Phoenix is peculiarly the subject of local interest and is not a matter of statewide concern. Id. Accordingly, the state statutes providing for partisan ballots did not displace the Phoenix charter provisions for non-partisan elections. ¶23 This Court subsequently relied on Strode in a case involving Tucson prospective city candidate elections. argued that In Triano the v. one-year Massion, a residency requirement in Tucson s charter conflicted with a state statute merely requiring candidates proposed to represent. to reside in the district they 109 Ariz. 506, 513 P.2d 935 (1973). Upholding Tucson s residency requirement, the Court confirmed that [m]unicipal elections are matters of local interest and 13 not matters of statewide concern. Id. at 508, 513 P.2d at 937 (citing Strode, 72 Ariz. 360, 236 P.2d 48). III. ¶24 With this background, we consider whether A.R.S. § 9- 821.01 displaces the method that Tucson has used under its 1929 charter to elect its city council. A. ¶25 SALC and the State first argue that the prohibition on partisan elections in § 9-821(B) should apply to Tucson because its charter does not require partisan council elections but instead incorporates the state s general laws. ¶26 Tucson s election laws. charter does incorporate certain state With respect to primary elections, the charter provides: The provisions of the general laws of the State of Arizona relating to and governing primary elections and the nomination of elective officers, whether by primary or certificate of nomination (being the whole of title 16, Arizona Revised Statutes, 1956, and each and every provision of said title with all amendments and supplements thereto) applicable to a city of the population and the class of this city, shall apply and govern the holding of primaries and nominations of elective officers. Tucson City Charter Chapter XVI, § 2. The Tucson charter also states that [t]he provisions of the general laws of the State of Arizona, governing the elections 14 of state and county officers, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Charter, shall govern the said elections . . . . ¶27 Id. § 7. The charter provisions, however, do not incorporate § 9-821.01(B). This statute is not part of Title 16 s provisions relating to and governing primary elections and the nomination of elective officers. general laws officers. Id. § 2. governing Instead, the the Nor is it among the state s elections charter s of state reference to and the county state s general laws regarding primary elections and the nomination of elective officers contemplating is partisan more reasonably elections. See interpreted A.R.S. § as 16-311(A) (providing for partisan nominations in a primary election ); id. § 16-311(B) (providing selection process for nonpartisan elections ). ¶28 Tucson has conducted partisan elections for its city council for over eighty years. permits partisan elections, and Tucson s charter at the least thus conflicts with § 9- 821.01(B), which forbids them. ¶29 Moreover, § 9-821.01(C), as SALC and the State acknowledge, plainly conflicts with Tucson s charter in another respect. The statute bars a city that uses a ward-based primary for council members from using an at-large general election. Id. Tucson s charter states that councilmen shall be nominated each from, and by the respective voters of, the ward in which he 15 resides, and shall be elected by the voters of the city at large. Tucson City Charter Chapter XVI, § 9. B. ¶30 Under Strode, Tucson s manner of electing its city council members supersedes the conflicting provisions of A.R.S. § 9-821.01(B) and (C). The Court held in Strode that the City of Phoenix could select its council in nonpartisan elections. If the local autonomy granted by Article 13, Section 2 allows a city to opt not to use partisan elections, the converse must also be true: a city may choose to use partisan elections. ¶31 to Strode s rationale also extends to Tucson s decision use ward-based elections. In primaries and characterizing the at-large method general of council electing city officers as a purely municipal concern, Strode noted that the framers of our Constitution allowed charter cities to structure their own governments. 72 Ariz. at 368, 236 P.2d at 54. The Court could conceive of no essentials more inherently of local interest or concern to the electors of a city than who shall be its governing officers and how they shall be selected. Id. If the home rule provisions of Article 13, Section 2 are to have effect, they must at the least afford charter cities autonomy in choosing how to elect their governing officers. ¶32 reconsider We therefore must consider whether there is reason to or qualify Strode s 16 holding that the method and manner of conducting elections for a charter city is peculiarly the subject of local interest and is not a matter of statewide concern. ¶33 The Id. at 368, 236 P.2d at 54. State argues that we should defer to the legislature s finding in A.R.S. § 9-821.01(A) that the conduct of elections described in this section is a matter of statewide concern. The statute also declares: Arizona courts have recognized that the Constitution of Arizona requires the legislature's involvement in issues relating to elections conducted by charter cities, including initiative and referendum elections, the method of elections other than by ballot, laws relating to primary elections, voter registration laws to prevent abuse and fraud and campaign finance laws. Id. The State notes that no similar findings were present in Strode. ¶34 to For several reasons, § 9-821.01(A) does not cause us reassess Strode. Although we respect findings by the legislature, whether state law prevails over conflicting charter provisions under Article 13, Section 2 is a question of constitutional interpretation. See City of Tucson v. Walker, 60 Ariz. at at 238-39, 135 P.2d 226-27; cf. Forty-Seventh Legislature of State v. Napolitano, 213 Ariz. 482, 485 ¶ 8, 143 P.3d 1023, 1026 (2006) (noting that courts responsible for interpreting the constitution). are ultimately The issue is not whether the legislature acted constitutionally in enacting § 9-821.01(A)-(C); we presume that it did and assume, without 17 deciding, that the statute applies to non-charter cities. We must instead determine whether, notwithstanding this statute, the constitution affords charter cities autonomy in structuring the elections of their governing councils. ¶35 We do not question that some aspects of the conduct of local elections may be of statewide concern. See, e.g., City of Tucson v. State, 191 Ariz. 436, 439, 957 P.2d 341, 344 (App. 1997) (finding statewide interest in specifying uniform dates for municipal elections). But election dates, other administrative aspects of elections, and the various examples listed in different § 9-821.01(A) from all determining involve how a matters city will qualitatively constitute its governing council. ¶36 Act The State also contends that the federal Voting Rights ( VRA ), 42 U.S.C. § 1973 (2006), creates a statewide interest in barring Tucson s use of at-large council elections. Since the 1975 amendments to the VRA, Arizona has been a covered jurisdiction : the state and its political subdivisions must seek federal approval (preclearance) under section 5 of the VRA before implementing any change affecting voting. See 42 U.S.C. § 1973c; 28 C.F.R. §§ 51.26-51.28. ¶37 To be relieved of the preclearance requirement, Arizona must show that, for the last ten years, neither it nor any of its political subdivisions 18 has engaged in any discriminatory voting practice. See 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(a)(3). The State also would have to show that it and all governmental units within its territory . . . have eliminated voting procedures and methods of election which inhibit or dilute equal access to the electoral process. 42 U.S.C. § 1973b(a)(1)(F). The continued State argues that Tucson s use of at-large elections might jeopardize Arizona s ability to be relieved from the preclearance requirements because at-large council elections have sometimes been found to violate the VRA.3 ¶38 The VRA, however, does not alter Strode s analysis of the relative power of the state legislature and charter cities regarding the structure of city government. must comply with applicable federal law. Tucson undeniably But at-large elections do not necessarily violate either the federal constitution or the VRA. See Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30, 48 (1986). The State does not claim, nor is there any evidence in the record suggesting, that Tucson s method of selecting its city council violates the VRA. Indeed, Tucson has elected minority council members for decades and two of its current council members are Hispanic.                                                              3 At-large elections for city councils violate § 2 of the Voting Rights Act when they deny minority voting rights. See, e.g., United States v. Village of Port Chester, 704 F. Supp. 2d 411, 446 (S.D.N.Y. 2010); Benavidez v. City of Irving, 638 F. Supp. 2d 709, 732 (N.D. Tex. 2009). 19 ¶39 Concerns to prevent possible violations of the VRA do not support A.R.S. § 9-821.01(C) trumping Tucson s charter. The statute does not affect the many Arizona municipalities that use at-large elections for both primaries and general elections, and Tucson could satisfy the statute s requirements by retaining its at-large general election while abandoning ward-based primaries. ¶40 We also reject the State s suggestion that the Arizona Constitution, as interpreted in Strode, somehow changed as a result of Congress s enactment of the VRA in 1965 and the extension of the preclearance requirements to Arizona in 1975. Although congressional enactments can preempt state law under the Supremacy Clause, U.S. Const. art VI, there is no contention that Congress has preempted the home rule provisions in Arizona s Constitution, and we do not believe the VRA impliedly amended them. If Arizona s Constitution has become outdated in its respect for local autonomy, it is up to Arizona s voters to approve any amendment. ¶41 Independent of the VRA, the State contends that § 9- 821.01 involves matters of statewide concern because it promotes equality in the democratic process. Arizona s Constitution recognizes that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, art. 2, § 2, and provides that [a]ll elections shall be free and military, shall at any time equal, and interfere 20 no to power, prevent civil the or free exercise of the right of suffrage. Art. 2, § 21. Article 7, Section 12 of the Constitution states that [t]here shall be enacted registration and other laws to secure the purity of elections and guard against abuses of the elective franchise. ¶42 Some state courts have held that legislatures may require home-rule cities to adopt district-based elections for city councils. (Neb. 1982); 1987). See, e.g., Jacobberger v. Terry, 320 N.W.2d 903 Casuse v. City Other recognized state that aspects of court of Gallup, 746 decisions, municipal P.2d like elections 1103 (N.M. Strode, have are of local concern, although some of these decisions concern constitutional provisions that specifically municipal elections. empower cities to regulate See, e.g., Johnson v. Bradley, 841 P.2d 990 (Cal. 1992) (holding that city charter authorizing partial public financing of campaigns for elective city office superseded state statute in light of art. 11, section 5(e) of California Constitution); State v. Callahan, 221 P. 718 (Okla. 1923) (holding that state law did not displace charter provisions for non-partisan municipal primary); Ex parte Boalt, 260 P. 1004 (Or. 1927) (stating that election of municipal judge was of purely local concern). ¶43 We are not persuaded by the out-of-state cases cited by the State. that a statute In Jacobberger, the Nebraska Supreme Court held mandating district-based 21 elections displaced Omaha s charter provisions for at-large elections, noting that the primary fundamental concern right representation. identified by of to the vote legislation and the right 320 N.W.2d at 907. Arizona s Legislature was to to insure the proportionate No similar intent was in amending A.R.S. § 9- 821.01; that statute, as noted, does not bar at-large elections as such; and at-large elections do not necessarily deny voting rights protected by Arizona s Constitution or federal law. Casuse, the decisions New Mexico interpreting Supreme New Court, Mexico s relying on constitution as its In prior allowing general legislation to limit a municipality s home-rule power, held that a state law preempted Gallup s charter provision for at-large council elections. 746 P.2d at 1104. This reasoning is contrary to Strode and other Arizona decisions. ¶44 The State finally observes that Tucson s method of electing council members has resulted in candidates winning in the general election who did not receive the most votes in the ward from which they were nominated. The State contends that if a council member represents a particular ward, the State has an interest in assuring the person has the support of a majority of the ward s voters. But Tucson council members, although nominated by ward, represent the entire city, just as do council members elected at large in other cities. 22 ¶45 An at-large council election by its nature allows candidates to win who may not receive a majority of votes in particular areas of the city. (District based elections, in contrast, allow council members to vote on matters affecting the entire city even though they are not elected, and might not be preferred, by a majority of the city s voters.) The provisions in Arizona s Constitution regarding voting rights, however, do not require cities generally to adopt district-based elections. Instead, Article 13, Section 2 allows a charter city to determine who shall be its governing officers and how they shall be selected. ¶46 members Determining necessarily concerns. endorses Strode, 72 Ariz. at 368, 236 P.2d at 54. Our one the involves opinion method method of a neither for electing weighing of involves election over city competing policy another; council policy choices instead nor it considers whether Arizona s Constitution entrusts those issues to the voters of charter cities or the state legislature. ¶47 Given Article 13, Section 2, the intent of Arizona s framers, and the history of municipal government in our state, we hold that electors in charter cities may determine under their charters whether to constitute their councils on an atlarge or district basis and whether to conduct their elections on a partisan basis. In so doing, they must of course comply with the Arizona Constitution and federal law. 23 But the local autonomy preserved for charter cities by Arizona s Constitution allows Tucson voters to continue electing their council members pursuant to the city s 1929 charter notwithstanding A.R.S. § 9821.01(B) and (C). CONCLUSION ¶48 remand We vacate the opinion of the court of appeals and the case to the superior court for entry of summary judgment in favor of the City of Tucson. _____________________________________ W. Scott Bales, Justice CONCURRING: _____________________________________ Rebecca White Berch, Chief Justice _____________________________________ Andrew D. Hurwitz, Vice Chief Justice _____________________________________ A. John Pelander, Justice _____________________________________ Robert M. Brutinel, Justice 24