This coming Tuesday, March 1st, Minot citizens will be asked if they want to make some changes to the City’s Home Rule Charter. Here’s what you need to know.
Why we’re voting
The election was called in response to a certified petition to reform Minot’s City Council that was presented by the group #MakeMinot. But, before City Council reform can be considered by voters, there are some legal T’s to cross and i’s to dot. Thus, we are having a Home Rule Charter election to consider the required changes. Learn more about #MakeMinot’s proposal here.
Time & Place
The election will be held Tuesday, March 1st at the Auditorium. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. If you applied to vote with an absentee ballot, your ballot must be postmarked by Monday, February 29th.
How You Should Vote
The ballot language is dense and hard to understand, but here’s the gist: if you want to vote on City Council reform this June, these proposals need to be approved. If approved, Minot’s Home Rule Charter would grant authorities to our City that the state legislature has intended for us to have since 1985. And, if approved, our Charter would be similar to the Home Rule Charters in Grand Forks, Wahpeton, and Jamestown — the other communities that have been through the process of reforming their governing bodies in the recent past.
If the proposed amendments pass, we will have an election in June to consider changing the size and manner in which City Council members are elected. If the proposed amendments do not pass, it’s back to the drawing board for City Council reform, and no other changes will take place.
What’s the Home Rule Charter?
Minot’s Home Rule Charter is kind of like our city’s constitution. Because we are a Home Rule Charter city, we are allowed to make our laws and do things our way (as opposed to looking at State of North Dakota laws). It means that if our City chooses to make a law on a topic, that law will supersede North Dakota law in that instance. But the state only allows us to make laws on certain issues and only if we’ve granted ourselves that same authority by including it in our Home Rule Charter. Yeah, it’s a little confusing.
If you want to read Minot’s Home Rule Charter, check it out here.
The Actual Questions
The full ballot language is copied below. New content is underlined.
—— Question No. 1. ——
Shall the Home Rule Charter of the City of Minot Article 3, Powers of the City, subpart (d) be amended to read as follows?
(d) To provide for city officers, agencies, and employees, their selection, terms, powers, qualifications, and compensation. To provide for change, selection, or creation of its form and structure of government, including its governing body, executive officer, and city officers.
YES – Means you approve the amendment as summarized above.
NO – Means you reject the amendment as summarized above.
—— Question No. 2. ——
Shall the Home Rule Charter of the City of Minot Article 8, Changing the Form of Government be repealed and reenacted to read as follows?
Changes in the form of government may be proposed on motion of the governing body or may be proposed by petitions bearing the signatures of qualified voters of the city equal to at least fifteen (15) percent of the total votes cast in the city at the most recent presidential election. Proposals shall be voted upon within 120 days after the motion of the governing board or the determination of sufficiency of the petitions by the City Clerk. If no regular city election is held within said time period, the governing body shall provide for a special election, otherwise the vote shall be taken at such regular election. The form and procedures concerning any petition hereunder shall be, in all respects, in accordance with the provisions for initiative as set forth in Article 4 herein.
YES – Means you approve the amendment as summarized above
NO– Means you reject the amendment as summarized above.