Laws governing local ballot measures in Minnesota
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- Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
- How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
- An overview of laws governing local recall elections.
Types of local government
Local government in Minnesota consists of 87 counties, 854 cities, and 1,785 townships. There are also 569 special districts and 338 independent school districts.
Counties may be:
- General law: of which there are 86
- Home rule charter: of which there is 1 (Ramsey County)
Cities may be:
- Statutory (general law): of which there are 747
- Home rule charter: of which there are 107
Minnesota requires a ballot measure to issue new bonding for schools, to exceed the revenue cap, or to equalize a levy. Minnesota only mandates a simple majority for passing school bond ballot measures; however, the measures must be placed in a goldenrod ballot separate from the main ballot during an election. Also, citizens are granted the right to petition for special elections related to school bonds.
Local recall rules
- For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Minnesota
Campaign finance rules
Initiative process availability
Charter cities have a mandated initiative process for citizens to petition for and vote on charter amendments. Charter cities also have authority to allow initiative for ordinances. Some have granted this power to citizens, others have not. The information for the top 10 most populated cities in Minnesota, 8 of which operate under a charter, is provided below.
Citizens in general law cities do not have broad initiative power to propose ordinances, but there are specific state statutes that grant a petition process for limited subject matter..
| Ballot Law Portal|
|Laws Governing Ballot Measures|
Minnesota Constitution, Article XII, Section 5 authorizes city charter amendment through an initiative petition.
Minnesota Statutes Section 410.12 also governs city charter amendment petitions. Individual charters may contain additional requirements. See law: Minn. Stat. Sec. 410.12
Initiative process features
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
|Local I&R Laws in the 50 States|
|Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with |
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns
Initiative in the top 10 most populated cities
|List of Most Populated Cities in Minnesota|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
8 of the top 10 most populated cities in Minnesota are governed under a home rule charter. Initiative is available for charter amendments as detailed above. In addition, 6 of those charters have enacted initiative for ordinances. The provisions below come from the specific city charter or code. Click on the citation links to read the full requirements for the initiative process. Sample petitions may be available from local election officials.
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- Minnesota League of Cities, Handbook for Minnesota Cities, Chap. 4 The Home Rule Charter City
- Minnesota League of Cities, City Special Elections, Sept. 2012
- Ramsey County Charter
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)
- US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Minnesota: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011