The Hopkins Charter Commission met on May 13. Present were Commission members Dorothy Boen, David Day, Roger Gross, Fran Hesch, Steve Lewis, Emily Wallace-Jackson and staff member Jim Genellie.
The meeting was brought to order at 6:04 p.m. by the Chair of the Commission, Emily Wallace-Jackson.
Commissioner Boen moved and Commissioner Gross seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the April 30, 2013 meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.
Questions asked at the April 30, 2014 Charter Commission meeting
Mr. Genellie reported on two questions that the Commission raised at its 2013 meeting.
Commissioners wanted to know the number of cities in Minnesota which have multiple candidates running for multiple offices. Approximately 680 cities have AtLarge positions where more than one candidate is elected.
Commissioners also had a question as to which level of government determines the method used to elect the President and Congress. The State Legislature determines the method.
Update regarding Ranked Ballot Voting
Mr. Genellie reported on Minneapolis experience with Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Minneapolis still needs to hand count votes due to limitations in how the voting machines tabulate the results.
Minneapolis is also seeking some changes to expedite the voting.
There was no old business.
Discussion of filing for office
One of the recommendations coming out of the 2013 Minneapolis election is that the filing fee be increased. This recommendation came as a result of 35 people filing for mayor in Minneapolis.
The City of Hopkins has not faced anywhere near that number of candidates for any office. However the City has had several candidates in the last few years who filed but did not campaign. (For example, they did not put signs up, respond to newspaper requests for information, or attend League of Women Voters events.)
The Hopkins’ filing fee has been $5since 1947. This is the equivalent of $53 in current dollars.
Even if the filing fee was raised, state law allows the filing of a petition instead of the fee. The petition has to be signed by the lesser of 500 signatures or five percent of the total number of votes cast at the preceding general election at which the office was on the ballot. For Hopkins, 5 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last municipal election would equal 84 voters.
The commission looked at the Minneapolis experience, the current value of the 1947 fee and what are other filing fees for other offices in state law. For example the fee set for a county office is $50 while the filing fee for the office of soil and water conservation district supervisor is $20.
Commissioner Hesch moved and Commissioner Boen seconded the motion to direct staff to prepare an ordinance to raise the fee to $25.00. The motion was approved unanimously. Mr. Genellie said that he would look at the schedule to ensure that any change would be in place for the 2015 filing period.
Commissioner Johnson moved and Commissioner Lewis seconded a motion to adjourn. The motion was approved unanimously.