TUCSON – The city of Tucson is facing a lawsuit from the Pima County Green Party. The lawsuit claims the Green Party of Pima County was illegally removed from the 2019 primary ballot.
On Monday, July 1 a hearing in Superior Court was held. The judge is set to decide in the next few days if the Green Party should be allowed on the 2019 ballot.
In court, the city of Tucson said the Green Party did not qualify in time by having submitting 969 valid signatures by March 25.
Members of the Green Party said the writing in their petition, dating back to 2017, says they are an eligible political party to for two years of election cycles. The city of Tucson admitted in court that the petition had the wrong language.
The city of Tucson provided us with a statement regarding the lawsuit.
“Last Wednesday, June 12, the Green Party of Pima County filed a special action seeking to have the Pima County Superior Court order that they remain qualified for the ballot for the 2019 City election cycle in all races. The core of the issue is whether the state law that permits parties who qualify for inclusion on the ballot for state and federal elections to then remain qualified through two federal election cycles (ARS 16-801(B)) also applies at the local (city and county) level. If it doesn’t, the Greens no longer qualify for the City ballot through either voter participation or party registration. The Green Party had qualified for the ballot via a “new party petition” in 2017, but subsequently did not meet either of the requirements for maintaining qualification: (1) their voter participation level in the November 2018 election was too low; and (2) their voter registration numbers as of April 2019 (155 days before the primary, as provided in ARS 16-804) also were not sufficient for them to remain qualified for the ballot.
The Superior Court (Judge Metcalf) held a scheduling conference yesterday afternoon. The City will file an Answer and Response by Friday, June 21. The Green Party will Reply by June 28. The Superior Court will hold a hearing on the matter on July 1 at 11:00 (scheduled for one hour).”
News 4 Tucson spoke with Chairperson Sara May Williams for the Green Party of Pima County who disagrees with the city.
“I do think justice is on our side, we followed the instructions that they gave us,” Williams said.
Williams says that by the time the green party learned their 2017 petition didn’t qualify them for the 2019 primary ballot, it was too late to submit signatures.
“Again it’s not our error,” Williams said. “It’s the error of the city of Tucson and ultimately because it’s there error we will prevail in the end.”
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