City of Tucson v. State (City of Tucson)
In City of Tucson v. State (City of Tucson), 191 Ariz. 436, 437, 957 P.2d 341, 342 (App. 1997), the state had identified a statewide interest in having all elections in the state conducted on four particular days, to increase voter turnout and lower expense. 191 Ariz. at 437, 957 P.2d at 342.
The purpose of the legislation, which benefited the state, could not be accomplished unless municipalities complied. Id. at 439, 957 P.2d at 344.
The nonpartisan requirement in 9-821.01(B), on the other hand, is directed at municipalities and does not advance any identified statewide interest under Strode v. Sfullivan, 72 Ariz. 360, 364-65, 236 P.2d 48, 51 (1951).
And the mere presence of a statement of legislative intent is not dispositive. See City of Tucson, 191 Ariz. at 439, 957 P.2d at 344 (noting statement of intent entitled to deference; then analyzing magnitude of statewide concern).
Furthermore, although Strode does not categorically prohibit all legislation regarding local elections, its holding covered one of the precise issues raised here--partisan elections--and went on to state that the "method and manner of conducting municipal elections" is primarily an issue of local concern. See 72 Ariz. at 368, 236 P.2d at 54.