Gallardo v. Arizona
The Voting Rights Project filed a lawsuit on December 26, 2013, in the Arizona Superior Court of Maricopa County, on behalf of six Maricopa County residents against the State of Arizona and a number of State and Maricopa County officials sued in their official capacities. The lawsuit challenges H.B. 2261, a 2010 law that required the addition of two at-large seats to the Governing Board of the Maricopa Community College District. Attorneys with the Phoenix office of Perkins Coie LLP are pro bono co-counsel in the case.
The lawsuit alleges that H.B. 2261 violates the Arizona state constitution because it singles out Maricopa County in violation of the Arizona State Constitution's prohibition against local or special laws, and violates its privileges and immunities clause. The plaintiffs in the case are Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo, State Representative Martin Quezada, Maricopa County Community College Governing Board Member Randolph Lumm, Lydia Guzman, Marcus Lara and Rose Marie Duran Lopez.
Arizona did not attempt to enforce H.B. 2261 while the State was required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to obtain preclearance for its voting changes. The State initially submitted the legislation for review by the U.S. Department of Justice, but after DOJ sent a request for additional information -- noting concerns about the addition of two at-large seats -- the State simply set the legislation aside and never responded to the DOJ request. After the Supreme Court's decision this past June in Shelby County v. Holder, Arizona was no longer prevented by Section 5 from enforcing H.B. 2261 and the defendants in the case are now moving forward to fill the two new seats in the November 2014 election. The lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to show cause why an injunction should not be issued.
Click here to view the complaint.