recommending a change in our city's election procedures, at least as it
applies to the mayoral race in future. He recommends, instead of a $20 fee
paid and you're a candidate, a requirement of a certain number of
signatures on a petition seeking that person's admission to candidacy.
For people like me, democratic idealists, there are too many candidates for
Minneapolis mayor this year (there were too many in 2009, as well, although
not our 35 this year). That is too many for the electorate to research; I
am not alone in fearing that voters will give up and vote for the one or
two who most completely deluge their home with expensive campaign mailings
and e-messages. Or, they will avoid voting at all.
The media have already decided who are the "serious" and "high-profile"
candidates--these are terms used in a MinnPost article by Karen Boros of
two days ago. There are eight "serious" candidates who are invited to State
Fair interviews and debates or whose views are solicited by the media:
Andrew, Cherryhomes, Cohen, Fine, Hodges, Samuels, Winton, and Woodruff.
All are or have been elected or appointed to Minneapolis positions (some
long ago), and all these eight have filed a campaign revenue/expenses
report by the September 1 deadline. The 27 others are a mish-mosh of
quasi-campaigns (Bob Carney, Jr., for instance, filed a campaign funds
report but seems not to have a campaign committee beyond himself) or
non-campaigns with no money reported, no campaign committee, no public
appearances, no participation beyond the filing for office and paying $20.
These latter, who amount to 80% of the candidates for mayor, are vanity
candidacies and they are clogging up the electoral system. No debates, no
positions readily available, no interviews with press, no "presence." That
is partly the media's fault--I've already suggested that the media have
made a massive pre-RCV-finals "cut" to sift out the "unserious"--but it
also reflects a reality: these are not serious candidacies.
Mayoral candidates should have to prove that there is someone besides the
candidate herself and her mother and brother who want her to be a mayor of
Minneapolis. Every candidate should be required to present either a certain
real number of legitimate registered voter signatures (not prospective
voters, but those already registered) or a percentage of the previous
municipal election vote count. The latter is insufficient, I think--who
voted last time? A tiny percentage of Minneapolitans.
So, let's say that for mayor, each candidate has to present 300 voter
signatures in petition for candidacy (that would include those "endorsed"
by a party: they would have to have 300 signatures, too. So if the Greens
can't gather 300 signatures, that would mean they're not ready for mayoral
prime time.) The number of required signatures could be bigger: 1,000, or
25,000. No filing fee, maybe.
With at least 300 people actually supporting them, each candidae would be
more legitimate than the bulk of our crowd in 2013. And, there would be
fewer of them.
For example, I don't think that Fine, Cohen, Winton, or Woodruff could get
300 signatures to support their filing for mayor. Perhaps not Cherryhomes,
either. Imagine: a mayoral election under RCV where the candidates are
(alphabetically) Andrew, Hodges and Samuels.
Three candidates, all of whom could be ranked by the electorate, who would
have seen those three in multiple debates and interviews and Q and A's, any
one of whom could in fact become mayor.
Now that is something to work for. Three or four honestly-supported (by
people, not money) candidates who would force each other to meaningful
discussions of what a Minneapolis mayor does or should do.
Como, in East Minneapolis