It is too late to head off the insanity of the 2013 Minneapolis mayoral election. The election is a foregone joke, with 35 candidates and only a handful of serious ones.

Turnout in these off-off-year elections is notoriously low (by the design of local politicians), and will probably be even lower this year than in the past. Professional politicians have been quick to blame the new ranked-choice voting (RCV) system for the problem, but most of these strange candidates would have come out of the woodwork in this open election anyway.

The real problem is the city’s candidate registration system. For 20 bucks, any idiot can put his/her name on the ballot.

It is time to get serious about candidate registration. While a dramatically increased registration fee is an obvious solution, a better one would be to require nomination by petition. A suitable threshold might be 5 percent of voters in the last election for the office being sought. With RCV, we get to vote for more than one candidate anyway, so there would be no need to check for duplicate signatures.