Citizen Petition to Amend City Charter
Any citizen or group of citizens may prepare an amendment, in proper legal form, to circulate for registered voters’ signatures. Note: Citizens should seek legal guidance to ensure their efforts are in compliance with the law.
If the proposed amendment is less than 1,000 words, the full text must accompany the signature page. If the amendment is greater than 1,000 words, a summary of the text accompanies the signature page.
Note: If a summary is necessary, the summary must first be submitted to the Charter Commission prior to beginning the process of collecting signatures. The summary must be 50 to 300 words. Once it is submitted, the Charter Commission must call a meeting to be held within 10 days to review the summary for fairness and completeness, and at least eight Commissioners must approve the language.
Petitions must include signatures equaling at least five percent of the total votes cast in Minneapolis in the last state general election. Signatures must be in ink or inerasable pencil, and cannot be electronic.
215,804 Minneapolis residents voted at the last state general election held November 6, 2012, so a citizen petition would currently require the signature of at least 10,791 registered Minneapolis voters to move forward.
Note: Signatures must be from Minneapolis voters, all registered to vote under their current name at their current Minneapolis address. An address using a post office box is not valid.
Filing and Verification of the Petition:
A petition must be filed with the Charter Commission through the Office of the City Clerk.
Within 10 days, the Elections & Voter Services Division must verify the petition includes at least the minimum number of signatures from currently registered Minneapolis voters. If there are not enough signatures, the petition will be returned to the petitioners for up to 10 additional days to collect more signatures.
After a second submission, the Elections Division has five days to verify the additional signatures. If there are still not enough signatures, no further action is taken. If there are enough signatures, the petition goes to the Charter Commission to transmit it to the City Council. The amendment must be submitted to the voters as a ballot question at the next general election, if one is to be held within six months but not less than 17 weeks from the date the petition is submitted to the Charter Commission. If there is not a general election within that period, a special election must be held within 90 days. To be placed on the ballot for the 2014 General Election, petitions for ballot questions must be submitted to the Charter Commission between May 4 and July 8, 2014.
Placing the Question on the Ballot:
Once the petition is sent to the City Council, the Council refers it to its Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Committee to propose ballot language for the question. With the advice of the City Attorney, the City Council considers the recommendation of the IGR Committee and approves the final ballot language.
The full text of the amendment and the actual ballot language must be published in a newspaper having an aggregate regular paid circulation of at least 25,000 copies by the Office of the City Clerk once each week in the two weeks prior to the election.
Approval of the Amendment:
Approval of the amendment requires a 'yes' vote by 51% of those who vote on the ballot question. An amendment that concerns the sale of intoxicating liquor or wine must pass with a 'yes' vote by 55% of those voting on the question.
An amendment that passes becomes effective 30 days after the election unless the amendment itself includes a different effective date.
Note: The Plain Language Charter Revision, passed by Minneapolis voters via ballot question at the general election November 5, 2013, will replace the existing CIty Charter in its entirety on January 1, 2015, including any amendments that take effect prior to that date.
For additional information, see Minnesota Statute Chapter 410.12 or contact the Elections Division via Minneapolis 311 or (612) 673-3000.
Steps and Timelines for Placing a Charter Amendment on the Ballot by Citizen Petition in 2014
1. Petitioner(s): A resident or group of residents prepares the text of the desired amendment.
2. Petitioner(s): Prepare and submit a summary to the Charter Commission for review if required because the text of the amendment is more than 1,000 words.
3. Charter Commission: Within 10 days the Commission holds a meeting to review and approve the summary.
4. Petitioner(s): Seek signatures from registered Minneapolis voters.
5. Petitioner(s): File the petition with the Charter Commission by delivering it to the Office of the City Clerk in Room 304 of City Hall once signatures have been obtained. In order for a question to be placed on the ballot for the November General Election, the petition must be submitted between May 4 and July 8, 2014.
6. Elections & Voter Services Division: Returns the petition to the petitioners if there are not enough valid signatures for up to 10 additional days to collect more signatures.
7. Elections & Voter Services Division: After a second submission, the division has five days to verify the additional signatures. If there are enough signatures, the petition goes to the Charter Commission. If there are still not enough signatures, no further action is taken.
8. Charter Commission: At either a regular or specially called meeting, the petition is transmitted to the City Council.
Last regular Charter Commission meeting for this step: July 2, 2014
9. City Council: Receives the transmission at its next meeting and refers it to the Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Committee.
Last regular Council meeting for this step: Aug. 1, 2014
10. IGR Committee: Recommends ballot language relating to the question to the City Council for final approval.
Last regular IGR Committee meeting for this step: Aug. 7, 2014
11. City Council: Considers the recommendation of the IGR Committee and approves final ballot language.
Last regular Council Meeting for this step: Aug. 15 , 2014 (will require an early publication)
12. Mayor: The Mayor signs the action of the CIty Council, and it is published.
13. Elections & Voter Services Division: Provides the approved ballot language to Hennepin County, at least 74 days prior to the General Election.
Last day possible for this step in 2014: Aug. 22, 2014
14. Office of City Clerk: Publishes the full text of the amendment and the actual ballot language once each week in the two weeks prior to the election in a newspaper with a paid circulation of at least 25,000 copies.
2014 Publication Dates: Oct. 21 and Oct. 28, 2014
15. General Election: The question appears on the ballot November 4, 2014, and requires a ‘yes’ vote of 51% of those voting on it. An amendment that concerns the sale of intoxicating liquor or wine must pass with a ‘yes’ vote by 55% of those voting on the question.
16. Effective Date: An amendment that passes becomes effective 30 days after the election unless the amendment itself includes a different effective date.
Note: In addition to their regular meetings, the Charter Commission, City Council, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee may schedule special meetings.
Last updated Jun 13, 2014