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A1: If you’re a statutory city you must hold a special election to fill a vacancy on the council when both of the following circumstances are true:
1. The vacancy happened before the first day to file affidavits of candidacy for the next regular city election, and
2. There are more than two years remaining in the unexpired term.
You can check the Calendar of Important Dates to determine these cutoffs. If the vacancy occurs on or after the first day to file affidavits of candidacy or when less than two years remain in the unexpired term, state law does not require a special election to fill the vacancy.
A2: The council should declare a vacancy by resolution before appointing a new member. Some cities advertise the opening, require an application, or ask for letters of interest. Other cities make the appointment more informally based on who they know is interested in the position.
A3: City councils and other local governing bodies cannot hold any meetings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the day of any election within their boundaries. They cannot hold meetings after 6 p.m. on the day of a state precinct caucus, either.
A4: Yes! Chapter 5 of the Handbook for Minnesota Cities covers what you need to know, including ballot requirements, training election judges, and campaign signs.