Even Mayor Rybak thinks having 35 candidates vying to replace him is extreme
Rybak agrees: The sample ballot at right is extreme.
When Minneapolis voters head to the polls next week, they'll confront 35 candidates for mayor on the ballot. That includes no fewer than two running as some kind of pirate, and many more running for kicks, or around a pet issue.
Outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak gets that this state of affairs is kind of a mess. "I know some people are nervous or confused," he wrote on his blog last night.
The issue, Rybak explains, is that it doesn't take much to file for mayor of Minneapolis. He writes:
Right now, to get on the ballot to run for mayor of Minneapolis, all you need is $20, a filing fee has remained unchanged for the last 46 years. While that fee may have made sense in 1967, today the bar is simply too low for anyone to get their name on the ballot. As a direct result of that too-low fee, voters in 2013 are faced with 35 candidates to choose from, including far too many candidates who have not made any effort to engage seriously with voters. It's no wonder people are confused.
Rybak's solution: a higher filing fee. But he suggests a caveat to allow candidates without bags of money to join the race too, as long as they're serious: Candidates could have the fee waived by showing real grassroots support, via signatures from voters.
An effort earlier this year to raise the city's mayoral filing fee to $250 failed, but Rybak advocates trying again. For comparison, St. Paul's mayoral wannabes have to pony up $500, or collect 500 signatures.
His blog also addresses the ranked-choice voting business that voters will see next Tuesday, but Rybak finds this election development more exciting than frustrating.
"In my opinion, some of the candidates on the ballot this year could be very good mayors, and some could be excellent mayors," Rybak writes. "In past elections, we would have had to narrow our choices of very good and excellent candidates down to one."
Not this year: Now, we rank 'em. Want to practice? Minneapolis has created a sample game where you try it out by ranking your favorite city park.
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