So you’re thinking about running for office this year?

Here’s a quick 5-step starting check off list

This past year certainly had people doing things they never thought possible before. And many folks probably have a list of things they certainly would do and an even longer list of things they’d do differently if they were elected to office. So let’s hop off Twitter and Facebook for a minute and take a serious dive and break down the simple steps of what it takes to run for political office in the City of Minneapolis.

Elected office check off list:

First: Who can file?

According to Article VII, Section 6 of the Minnesota Constitution, a candidate for a state or local office must:

  • Be eligible to vote in Minnesota.
  • Have not filed for the same or any other office at the upcoming primary or general election.
  • Be twenty-one (21) years of age or more (or will be on assuming office).
  • Have maintained residence in the district from which the candidate seeks election for at least 30 days before the general election.
  • If a major political party candidate, have either participated in the party’s most recent precinct caucuses or intend to vote for a majority of that party’s candidates at the next general election.

Additional qualifications for specific offices include:

  • School board: must not have been convicted of an offense for which registration is required under Minnesota Statutes section 243.166.

Candidates must either submit a filing fee payment or a petition in place of a filing fee at the same time as the affidavit of candidacy.

Second: Filing for office.                                                                                             The process: According to the City of Minneapolis website, a candidate works with a designated filing officer over a two-week filing period to complete the filing process to get their name officially on the ballot to be potentially elected to office. Candidates must complete an affidavit of candidacy and either pay a filing fee or submit a petition in lieu of filing fee. Some additional financial requirements must be completed by candidate and their campaign. The City website featured an entire packet to complete for 2020 so anticipate the same to come out early 2021.

Key deadline dates: Summary of 2021 Filing Dates (MN Sec of State)
Filing PeriodApplicable OfficesFiling OpensFiling ClosesWithdrawal Deadline
Early Filing PeriodIf primary is possible: City Offices School District Offices5/18/216/1/216/3/21
Late Filing PeriodIf primary is not possible: City Offices School District Offices7/27/218/10/218/12/21

Third: What to bring and expect when filing as City of Minneapolis candidate

  • Due to COVID, asking candidates to schedule a filing appointment may adhere to social distancing guidelines. Contact
  • Bring a valid ID for notarization purposes
  • If arriving on the first or last day of filing, be prepared to wait
  • Officials will verify eligibility to file for office
  • Filing paperwork must be completed, signed and notarized
  • Filing fees must be paid at the time of filing or petition must be filed at the time of filing
  • Candidates receive a copy of the current year Candidate Information Packet

Note: The Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services only handles candidate filings for municipal elections and the Minneapolis School Board.

The Offices for the 2020 ballot that filed with Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services were the following (see below) and even have job descriptions listed for people’s review. Anticipate the same type of information for 2021 to be available.

They asked candidates schedule a filing appointment so they may adhere to social distancing guidelines. Contact; typical office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Any person who has concerns about filing for office in person can contact the Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services to discuss alternative options.

What if a person’s thinking about filing for federal, state or county offices?

For Federal offices go to: Minnesota Secretary of State

For State and judicial offices go to: Minnesota Secretary of State or Hennepin County for county residents

For County offices go to: Hennepin County

Fourth: Filing Fees

A small filing fee is required but a petition in place of a filing fee is also possible.

Payments can either be made in cash or check.

Minneapolis Special Election –

  • Minneapolis City Council: $250

Minneapolis School Board 

  • Minneapolis School Board Member: $20


Petition in place of a Filing Fee

Petitions in place of filing fees must meet certain legal standards, including submission on legal (8 1/2 x 14) size paper. Templates for petitions are produced by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Petitions in place of filing fees can only be signed by those eligible to vote for the candidate.

The number of signatures required on a petition in place of a filing fee can differ depending on the office sought, and the number of votes cast within the election district for the office at the previous election. Signature requirements for upcoming Minneapolis races can be found immediately below:

2020 Signature Requirements for Petitions in Place of Filing Fee/see website for full details.

Fifth: Financial Reporting:

Candidates must submit regular fundraising and expenditure reports that are part of public information. Campaign report requirements differ depending on the office being sought.

There are two primary types of financial reporting that candidates for Minneapolis Election – and Minneapolis School Board need to complete during the election.

  1. Statement of Economic Interest: This form is due within 14 days of filing for office and covers financial information related to the candidate. Candidates who are elected to office will complete this on an annual basis, while in office.
    Submitted to: Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services
  2. Campaign Registration and Financial Reports: Within 14 days of spending or raising $100, candidates must register their campaign and file an initial report with Hennepin County Elections. Additional reports will need to be submitted during the election.

Anyone can have ideas and share opinions. Running for office isn’t for everyone. These are just the first five simple steps for anyone considering running for an elected office. Find more info at