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Gallardo v. State

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

July 23, 2014

STEVE GALLARDO, an individual; LYDIA GUZMAN, an individual; MARCUS LARA, an individual; ROSE MARIE DURAN LOPEZ, an individual; RANDLOPH LUMM, an individual; and MARTIN QUEZADA, an individual, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
STATE OF ARIZONA, a body politic; HELEN PURCELL, in her official capacity as Maricopa County Recorder; KAREN OSBORNE, in her official capacity as Maricopa County Director of Elections; MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS; and DENNY BARNEY, STEVE CHUCRI, ANDY KUNASEK, CLINT L. HICKMAN, and MARY ROSE WILCOX, in their official capacities as members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Defendants/Appellees

As Corrected July 29, 2014.

Page 524

AMENDED PER ORDERS FILED 7-29-14, 12-4-14, 12-5-14.

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV2013-017137. The Honorable Randall H. Warner, Judge.

Perkins Coie LLP, Phoenix, By Paul F. Eckstein, Jessica L. Everett-Garcia, D. Andrew Gaona and Alexis E. Danneman; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, D.C., By Robert A. Kengle and Rosa E. Zamora, Pro Hac Vice, Co-Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellants.

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix, By Robert L. Ellman and David D. Weinzweig, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee State of Arizona.

Presiding Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the Opinion of the Court, in which Judge Donn Kessler joined and Judge Randall M. Howe specially concurred.

OPINION

Page 525

[236 Ariz. 3] Michael J. Brown, Judge:

[¶1] In this opinion we address the constitutionality of a statute that mandates adding two at-large positions to the boards of community college districts located within counties of at least three million people. For reasons explained below, we conclude the statute is a special law that violates the Arizona Constitution.

BACKGROUND

[¶2] Ten community college districts have been formed in Arizona. Each district is governed by a local board consisting of five members elected to six-year terms from five precincts within the district. Ariz. Rev. Stat. (" A.R.S." ) § 15-1441(A). In April 2010, the legislature amended A.R.S. § 15-1441(A) (" Amendment" ) as follows:

Beginning July 1, 2012, in addition to the governing board members who are elected from each of the five precincts in a community college district, a county with a population of at least three million persons shall elect two additional governing members from the district at large.

A.R.S. § 15-1441(I). The Amendment thus mandated that for a " county" with a population of more than three million, that county will elect two additional board members and the terms of all seven members will be four years.[1] With a population of approximately four million, only Maricopa County falls within the scope of the Amendment.[2]

[¶3] Because the State of Arizona sought to obtain preclearance of the Amendment from the Department of Justice under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (" VRA" ), the effective date was delayed. The United States Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, 133 S.Ct. 2612, 2631, 186 L.Ed.2d 651 (2013), however, removed the State's preclearance obligation under the VRA and the Arizona Attorney General opined that the next ...


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