/ Modified apr 27, 2016 1:20 p.m.

Federal Appeals Court Will Hear Tucson Elections Case

City asked for review of ruling that its hybrid election system is unconstitutional.

Elections, Voting - Stock Spotlight

The full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will review the constitutionality of Tucson's local elections systems after a three-member panel of the court ruled against it.

A three-judge panel previously found that the city's primary and general elections hybrid system puts many voters at a disadvantage by giving the upper hand to Democratic candidates in a largely Democrat city.

The city is divided into six wards, and residents can only vote for candidates in their ward during primary elections.

But they can vote for any city council candidate during general elections. That means the few pockets of Republican communities lose out because Democrats who are elected at the ward-level have wide support city-wide.

The court found the system violates the 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause. The new hearing will be in late June.

A group of Republican voters filed the case last year, and the appeals court ruling came one week after the biannual City Council election in which all three Democratic incumbents won new terms.

Two of those three incumbents, Ward 2's Paul Cunningham and Ward 4's Shirley Scott, won the city-wide vote but got fewer votes than their respective Republican rivals within their wards.

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