Amending the Charter

Learn about the ways that the charter can be amended.

There are two paths to amend the city charter, according to Minnesota Statutes, Section 410.12:

  1. By ballot question - An amendment enacted by vote of the electorate (Path #1)
  2. By ordinance - An amendment enacted by ordinance, which requires the unanimous affirmative vote of the entire membership of the City Council and approval by the Mayor (Path #2)

As shown in chart, the two paths offer options. These options include:

  1. The Charter Commission may propose amendments, either as:
    1. A ballot question, or
    2. A referral to City Council for enactment by ordinance
  2. A Citizen Petition requesting a ballot question when signed by a number of registered voters equal to at least 5 percent of the total votes cast at the last state general election
  3. The City Council may refer a proposed amendment to the electorate, subject to review by the Charter Commission
  4. The City Council may initiate an amendment by ordinance, with the concurrence of the Charter Commission

To learn more about each of these amendment options, see the Guide to amending the City Charter.

This chart shows the two primary pathways offer options with respect to how an amendment may be enacted.

Guide to amending the City Charter

See our in-depth guide to amending the City Charter. Learn relevant laws, deadlines and requirements of the process.

2021 petition requirements

2021 Timeline

Ballot questions for a proposed charter amendment must be submitted 17 weeks before the date of the general election. The general election is November 2, 2021. Therefore, the final date to submit a ballot question is Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

To ensure time for the required filing, verification, noticing, public hearing, and approval of ballot language required by law, the final date to receive citizen petitions for proposed charter amendments is May 1.

This allows the Charter Commission and the City Council to finalize actions to prepare and submit ballot language in the months of May and June, prior to the deadline in early July.

See Minnesota Statutes § 410.12, subd. 1

2021 Timeline
January 1 to May 1 Acceptance of filings for any citizen petitions seeking to submit a proposed charter amendment as a ballot question.
May 1 to June 30 Charter Commission and City Council complete work to verify petitions and finalize the ballot language.
After May 1, no petitions will be accepted.
July 6 Final date to submit a ballot question proposing a charter amendment to the electorate for the 2021 general election.

2021 signature requirements

Petitions for a proposed charter amendment by referendum must be signed by a minimum number of registered voters equal to no less than 5 percent of the total votes cast at the previous state general election in the city.

Based on the 2020 Presidential General Election (the last statewide general election), the total number of valid signatures required for a petition in 2021 is 11,906 (based on official turnout of 238,104 voters).

See Minnesota Statutes § 410.10, subd. 1

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