Minneapolis likely to make it more difficult to run for mayor

Dressing up as the Minneapolis mayoral ballot for Halloween will likely be a lot less fun in future years.

That's because city officials are considering raising fees for running for office from $20 for all offices to $100 for city council seats and $250 for mayor.

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The proposed change comes months after the city's most recent mayoral election featured 35 candidates, including someone named Captain Jack Sparrow and another guy who jerked off in a campaign ad (for better or worse, the video has since been removed from YouTube).

Furthermore, Minneapolis's filing fees are much lower than St. Paul's, where candidates face fees of $250 for city council and $500 for mayor.

The Minneapolis City Council could have approved the aforementioned changes during last Friday's meeting, but because two members weren't prepared to pull the trigger, the proposal will instead head back to the city's charter commission. (Changes to the city charter that don't stem from a referendum require unanimous council approval.) 

The two nay votes were cast by council members Cam Gordon and Blong Yang.

"At this point I'm still wondering if the better route might not be to let the voters choose what should be on the ballot themselves, and not have sitting council members decide about what the appropriate fee is," Gordon said.

"We're making it less accessible for certain people and I'd like it to be much more accessible," Yang added. "If the people want a higher fee, even if we raise it to $1,000 or so, that's up to the people."

But council member Barb Johnson criticized Gordon and Yang for dragging their feet in making a change that she believes clearly has the support of Minneapolis residents along with the majority of the council.

"So essentially we vote no and send it back to [the charter commission], they're annoyed with us -- rightfully -- they send us the language, we turn around and change the language yet again, and then, we're gonna send it on to the voters," Goodman said. "The cleanest thing to do is to pass it today. If we don't do that, it becomes a bigger political football, and, to be honest, one I'm not interested in negotiating."

Even if increased filing fees are ultimately approved, people who want to run for office in Minneapolis will still have the option of petitioning their way onto the ballot. To do so, they have to gather "the lesser of 500 signatures or five percent of the total number of votes cast in the municipality, ward, or other election district at the preceding general election at which that office was on the ballot," according to state law.

h/t -- Eric Roper

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]