No recount of narrow vote margin for Tucson mayor & Council raise
Tucson’s mayor and City Council received a hefty raise with a narrow ballot margin in November, and Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes issued a legal opinion Wednesday that the 289-vote edge doesn’t trigger a recount under state law.
The recount law only covers local municipal votes for elected officials, and doesn’t apply to city propositions, she determined.
“ARS § 16-661’s reference to automatic recounts of ‘referred measures’ only encompasses statewide ballot measures and does not include municipal measures like Prop. 413. As such, no recount is required,” Mayes said in an opinion released by her office on Wednesday.
City officials requested Mayes weigh in on the issue after questions were raised in the wake of the slender margin of votes in favor of boosting the salaries of the mayor and councilmembers.
“We’re happy to do a recount, but what we can’t do is a recount that violates state law,” City Attorney Mike Rankin told the Council in November.
State law requires a recount if an election margin is within one-half of one percent of the votes. Recounts rarely change the results of contests, with just a handful of elections in Arizona history ending with shifted outcomes.
Prop. 413, which pegs their pay to the levels set for the county supervisors — meaning a substantial annual increase, and then an increase again — was widely seen as heading to a recount. The measure garnered just 289 more “yes” votes than “no” responses out of 94,041 cast, and members of the Council said it would be automatically recounted under the law.