§ 3. Thirteen Wards

Latest version.
  • A. The City shall consist of thirteen Wards with as nearly equal population as practicable. Within the time specified in paragraph C hereof the Charter Commission shall readjust the boundaries of the Wards in accordance with the following standards:

    1. A population quota for each Ward shall be determined by dividing the total population of the City by 13. In no case shall any Ward, when readjusted, have a population more than five percent over or under such population quota.

    2. Each Ward shall consist of contiguous compact territory not more than twice as long as it is wide, provided that the existence of any lake within any Ward shall not be contrary to this provision. Wherever possible, Ward boundary lines shall follow the centerline of streets, avenues, alleys and boulevards and as nearly as practicable, shall run due East and West or North and South.

    3. To the extent possible, the Wards shall be numbered consecutively, first on the East side of the Mississippi river and then on the West side and from North to South. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, effective the date of this amendment and thereafter, all newly drawn Wards shall retain the same numerical designation as the then currently existing Ward from which the newly drawn ward received the largest portion of its population.

    4. Population shall be determined by use of the official population, as stated by census tracts and blocks in the official United States Census. Whenever it is necessary to modify census data in fixing a Ward boundary, the Charter Commission may compute the population of any part by use of other pertinent data or may have a special enumeration made of any block or blocks using the standards of the United States Census. If the population of any block or blocks is so determined, the Charter Commission may assume that the remainder of the census tract has the remaining population shown by the census. In every such case, the determination of the Charter Commission as to population shall be conclusive, unless manifestly contrary to the census.

    B. In each year ending in the number two, or whenever the number of Wards is changed, or when required by court order, the Charter Commission will draw Ward boundaries.

    The Commission will appoint an Advisory Group of not more than nine members who are eligible voters of the City of Minneapolis. The Advisory Group will be advisory only and will operate in accordance with rules and procedures established by the Commission. Applications for the Advisory Group will be accepted for at least 45 days prior to the appointment of its members by the Commission. The City Clerk will receive all applications to serve on the Advisory Group. The application will include such information as may be specified by the Charter Commission. Applicants shall not currently be, or within two years previous to appointment have been, an elected official of municipal, county, state or federal government, nor an employee of a political party, nor a candidate in a primary or general election for a public office for which the ballot indicates a political party designation of candidates, nor an employee of City government. In appointing members to the Advisory Group, the Charter Commission will consider the diversity of its membership.

    The City Council, upon request of the Charter Commission, shall promptly provide funding for such staff and other assistance as the Commission deems necessary to complete its work in a timely manner.

    C. At or within the times prescribed by law, the Charter Commission shall adopt a Ward boundary plan in accordance with the standards of paragraph A hereof. The Commission, with appropriate notice, shall hold at least four public hearings prior to adoption of the plan. At least two of the public hearings shall be for the purpose of reviewing the proposed plan. A copy of the proposed plan shall be published as a legal notice for the public at least seven (7) days prior to the public hearing on the proposed plan. Neighborhoods, as delineated by the Planning Department, shall be solicited for their input. The plan shall state the boundaries and population of each Ward and shall be deemed completed when approved by a majority of Commissioners voting at a duly called meeting of the Charter Commission and filed with the City Clerk. If the District Court finds the plan improper and returns it, the Commission shall reconvene for the purpose of revising and readopting the redistricting plan. Whenever Wards have been so readjusted, no further Ward adjustment shall be made until the announcement of the next decennial United States Census. In the event any territory shall be annexed to the City, it shall become part of the adjoining Ward.

    D. The District Court shall exercise original jurisdiction in any matter relating to redistricting in the manner provided by law, and upon application by a person having legal standing after notice and hearing may compel the execution of any action required hereunder by order of the Court.

    1. If a redistricting plan is questioned in a proceeding before the Court, and insufficient time remains to determine the issue, the Court may either (a) postpone the effective date of the plan, or (b) if the proposed plan appears to more closely reflect the distribution of population than the existing Ward boundaries, order that the proposed redistricting be effective for the next election without prejudice to the issue with respect to subsequent elections.

    2. If a redistricting plan is challenged in a proceeding before the Court, and the Court finds the plan is improper, the Court shall return the plan to the Charter Commission for revision and readoption.

    E. No readjustment of Ward boundaries shall apply to any City election if the adopted plan goes into effect after the first date for filing for such elections. All Council Members, including those who take office as provided in Chapter 2, Section 16 or 16A of this Charter, may complete the term for which they are elected, or appointed notwithstanding changes in Ward boundaries.

    F. This amendment shall take effect immediately upon certification of its adoption by the voters of the City of Minneapolis.

    G. The method herein provided shall be the sole method for readjusting Ward boundaries, and the City Council shall have no power to readjust Ward boundaries except as in this section provided.

    H. Special School District No. 1, Minneapolis. Within the time specified in Charter Chapter 1, section 3, and Chapter 16, section, 1, the Charter Commission shall set the boundaries of the school board districts in accordance with the redistricting principles it uses to set the boundaries of the City Wards and the Park Board districts, and in accordance with Minnesota law. (As amended 11-5-46; 11-5-74; 11-11-80; 83-Or-234, § 1, 9-30-83; 11-8-83; 88-Or-018, §§ 1, 2, 2-12-88; 88-Or-220, § 1, 12-16-88; 91-Or-262, § 1, 12-27-91; 11-2-99; Amend No. 171, §§ 1, 2, 11-5-10)


The amendment of November 5, 1946, related to ward boundaries. The amendment of November 11, 1980, amended § 3 in its entirety, to provide for a reapportionment commission and reapportionment plan procedures. Prior to amendment, the section concerned the wards and ward boundary commission. The amendment of November 8, 1983, changed "Alderman" to "Council Member." 88-Or-018 added language relative to ward boundaries. 88-Or-220 amended paragraphs B—D to make changes relative to time of reapportionment of ward boundaries.