Thursday, July 2, 2015

Research Q of the Week: Election Filing Fees in Minnesota Cities (7/2/2015)

Question: I heard something about filing fees changing. What should our fees be for running for city council these days?

Answer: State law for statutory cities sets the fees at $2 for fourth-class cities, $5 for third- and second-class cities, and $20 for first-class cities.

Charter cities can set their fee in ordinance or remain silent on the fee and charge the same as statutory cities.

These fee amounts have been in effect since 1959—when a gallon of gas set you back a quarter, Doris Day was a box office star, and Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union as the 49th and 50th states, respectively.

However, in the 2015 legislative session, the law was amended to allow cities to increase their filing fee if they choose. Under the new law, charter and statutory cities may, by ordinance, increase candidate filing fees for elections to city office. The fees can be no higher than $15 for fourth-class cities, $40 for third- and second-class cities, and $80 for first-class cities.

If a charter city sets their filing fee in the charter, they may make a charter amendment to increase fees. Charter cities are not subject to the same caps on filing fees as statutory cities.

So it's up to your citymodify filing fees to better reflect your community, or keep it classic and let state statute take care of the rest.

Written by Amber Eisenschenk, staff attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1227.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.

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