Minneapolis candidate filing fee hike DOA

It looks like anyone with $20 to spare will be able to get his or her name on the ballot in Minneapolis this year.

Election judge Pearline Crawford holds up a ranked choice ballot during the 2009 Minneapolis election. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The $20 filing fee to run for city offices has been in effect since 1967, and a proposal to increase it lacks the unanimous support it needs, council aide Robin Garwood said.

Several council members are concerned passing such a measure during an election year would appear self-serving, Garwood explained. Garwood is an aide to council member Cam Gordon, who sponsored the proposed charter amendment.

It would have raised the cost of filing for mayor to $250. City council candidates would have paid $100. Candidates could avoid the fees by collecting signatures.

City election officials argued the fee increase would weed out “frivolous” candidates, reduce voter confusion and cut down on administrative headaches.

Minneapolis used to winnow out those candidates using a primary election, but under its relatively new ranked choice voting system, all candidates appear on the general election ballot. This is the first time Minneapolis will use the system for a competitive mayor’s race.

Now that the filing fee proposal appears dead, the city elections department is looking at ways to streamline the ballot design in anticipation of a potentially lengthy list of candidates.

“We will do whatever is needed to make sure that it’s the best ballot that can be presented to the voter,” Assistant City Clerk Grace Wachlarowicz said.

The filing fee proposal needed unanimous council support, because it would amend the city charter. Even though the measure is dead on arrival, the council will still conduct a public hearing on it this Thursday, because state law requires it.