$1.7 million price tag for 2013 city election

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March 25, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The City Clerk’s Office has recommended raising the filing fee to prevent another 35-candidate mayoral race and expediting the voting tabulation process in a new report presented to a Council committee today.

The 2013 city election cost $1.76 million, according to the election recap report. One of the most expensive items for the city was a voter guide sent out to every Minneapolis household providing information about ranked choice voting that cost $97,536.

The Council’s Elections & Rules Committee voted to approve the recommendation to move forward with a new voting tabulation method that ­eliminates candidates with no chance of winning earlier in the process.

The Clerk’s Office didn’t recommend a specific amount for the candidate filing fee, but noted a higher fee than the $20 required in the 2013 election would help weed out candidates lacking public support.

Twenty-six of the 35 mayoral candidates on the 2013 ballot had less than 1 percent of all first-choice votes out of the 80,000 ballots cast, according to the election recap report. The top five candidates, meanwhile, had more than 85 percent of the first-choice votes. It took 25 rounds of tabulation for a total of 17 hours before a candidate with more than 1 percent of the first-choice votes was eliminated.

Another challenge raised by City Clerk Casey Carl was finding a way to encourage people who don’t turn out to vote for municipal elections to get to the polls and understand the role of city government in their everyday life. Some of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods in southwest Minneapolis tend to have the highest turnout.

Council Members Lisa Bender (Ward 10) and Jacob Frey (Ward 3) noted it’s important for candidates to move beyond the older white, wealthier residents typically targeted by campaigns.