ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Dozens of Minnesota city councils, township board and mayoral elections are without candidates this year.
Minnesota Public Radio analyzed candidate filings and found more than 250 instances in which no one is seeking the job.
A few of the undesired spots are in places with one thousand or more residents, but most affected cities have tiny populations.
League of Minnesota Cities executive director David Unmacht said he hasn’t studied the municipal ballot vacancies closely enough to declare this year’s number a lapse or a trend. But he said each city tends to have a different explanation for its lack of candidates.
“It’s really unique to each particular community,” he said. “At the same time, it is a tough job. It’s not always the most popular position in town. And in small towns, everybody knows everybody. And often times in some of these small communities people have rotated these positions so `Who’s turn is it next?’ And it might not be the time for people to serve.”
Write-in votes could determine some municipal leaders. Most of the cities should be able to appoint leaders to fill any gaps after the election.
“These communities know that there isn’t anybody who has signed up to be a mayor. They’re having conversations in the coffee shops as we speak about who should run for mayor,” Unmacht said. “They might even being picking someone to run for mayor in terms of being a write-in candidate as we speak.”
Unmacht said he is more concerned about the difficulty some areas will face in attracting younger citizens to serve on park boards, advisory panels and other entities that can be training grounds for future leaders.
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