What Minneapolis voters can expect in 2017

2017 is a municipal election year. In Minneapolis, all city officials – mayor, council members, and members of the Park Board and the Board of Estimate and Taxation – are elected at the same time every four years. That means all those city offices will be up for election in November.

Minneapolis voters passed a City Charter Amendment in 2006 to use ranked-choice voting in city elections, so there is no primary this year. Instead, every candidate who files to be on the ballot will be in the Nov. 7 General Election, and voters will have an opportunity to rank up to three choices in each office.

Candidate filing to be on the November ballot will start on August 1. Potential candidates are already coming forward and declaring they will run, however, the formal filing period is not until Aug. 1-15.

You may be hearing about candidates filing or registering now. Under state law, potential candidates generally must register with Hennepin County within 14 days of spending or raising $100. Hennepin County handles all filings for campaign finance reporting for Minneapolis candidates. This is a required step, but is not the same as filing to appear on the ballot.

Candidates may choose to seek the endorsement of a political party as part of running for a city office. The major political parties in Minnesota, as defined by state law, are the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and the Republican (GOP) Party. There are other political parties in the state as well that do not qualify as major parties under state law. The Secretary of State has lists of major and minor political parties in the state, along with contact information to reach those parties.

Each party determines and runs its own endorsement process. Caucuses are often part of this process. Caucuses are meetings run by the political parties. They are often the first in a series of meetings where parties may endorse candidates, select delegates to further party meetings, and set goals and values for the party to establish its party platform. Not all parties may choose to hold caucuses each year.

At this point, the DFL has designated April 4 as precinct caucus night in Minneapolis. Voters who wish to participate in one of these caucuses or who would like to learn more about the process the party of their choosing will be following to endorse candidates need to contact the parties directly for further information. The City of Minneapolis’ Elections & Voter Services Division has no involvement with running or administering caucuses or any part of a party’s endorsement process. Candidates do not need to be endorsed by a party in order to file for a city office and appear on the general election ballot.

Important election-related dates all Minneapolis voters should be aware of for 2017 include:

  • Candidate Filing Period: Aug. 1 – 15, 2017
  • Start of Absentee voting by mail and in person: Friday, Sept. 22, 2017
  • Pre-Registration Deadline: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
  • Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017

Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services will continue to provide voters with updated information as we get closer to the 2017 Municipal Election. Vote.minneapolismn.gov remains the best single resource for residents to find comprehensive election-related information, including:

Elections & Voter Services
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 201
Minneapolis, MN 55415