Thursday, May 8, 2014

Research Q of the Day: Getting Ready to Run for Office (5/8)

Question: I want to make a positive impact on my community, and I think public service would be a good fit. What do I need to do to run for office?

Answer: First of all, congrats on your decision to run for office. While winning an election isn't easy, filing to run is a relatively simple process.

To have your name placed on the ballot, you must file an affidavit of candidacy with your election administrator at the city or county and pay the required filing fee. The fee depends on the size of your city and the form of government you have.
  •     Candidates in Statutory Cities of the 2nd Class (20,000-less than 100,000 in population): $5
  •     Candidates in Statutory Cities of the 3rd Class (10,000-less than 20,000 in population): $5
  •     Candidates in Statutory Cities of the 4th Class (less than 10,000 in population): $2
  •     Charter City Candidates: Fee varies, see the city’s charter.
The affidavit of candidacy is a fancy name for a pretty straight-forward document. The affidavit declares what office the candidate is running for, provides contact information for the candidate, and declares that the candidate is eligible to hold office. Generally, a candidate for elective office in a city must meet a few important criteria to be eligible to hold office.

Candidates must be:

  • A qualified voter in the state of Minnesota.
  • A U.S. citizen.
  • At least 21 years of age on the date he or she would take office.
  • A resident of the city for 30 days before the election.
Filing of the affidavit of candidacy must take place during the specific time outlined by state statute. For cities with a primary election, the candidate must file between May 20-June 3, 2014. For cities without a primary election, the candidate must file between July 29-Aug. 12, 2014. Candidates may file by mail but the affidavit must be received by the last day to file—none of that “it’s in the mail” guff will fly.

Candidates may have additional filing requirements depending on the city and whether or not the candidate is fundraising to support the candidacy. For more information on this, please discuss these requirements with your local election official or visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.

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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