Laws governing local ballot measures in Minnesota

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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Minnesota Constitution
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Some Minnesota local governments have an initiative process for local ballot measures. This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Minnesota. It explains:
  • 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.[1]

Further classifications:

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[2]

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in Minnesota

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

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Minnesota ballot measures

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.[3].

Ramsey County, as the only charter county, permits initiative for charter amendments and county measures.[4][5]

Authority

Ballot Law Portal
Laws Governing Ballot Measures

Constitution

Minnesota Constitution, Article XII, Section 5 authorizes city charter amendment through an initiative petition.

Statutes

Minnesota Statutes Section 410.12 also governs city charter amendment petitions. Individual charters may contain additional requirements. DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Minn. Stat. Sec. 410.12

Following state law, the Secretary of State enacted rules regarding circulated petitions. DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Minn. Stat. Sec. 204B.071 2012 Election Rules Chap. 8205

Initiative process features

A guide to local ballot initiatives
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Charter cities


Local I&R Laws in the 50 States
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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[6] Population City Type Next election
Minneapolis 387,753 Charter 2017
St. Paul 288,448 Charter N/A
Rochester 107,890 Charter N/A
Duluth 86,277 Charter N/A
Bloomington 84,057 Charter N/A
Brooklyn Park 76,853 Charter N/A
Plymouth 71,561 Charter N/A
St. Cloud 66,169 Charter N/A
Eagan 64,765 General law N/A
Woodbury 62,787 General law N/A

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.



External links

References