Iowa: Running for Office

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This information is for the 2012 elections.

Contents

Local Offices

Local elections in Iowa are non-partisan, and they are held in odd numbered years. The General election is on the first Tuesday in November, but some cities also hold Primaries, while others hold Runoffs. In addition, some cities allow for citizen petitions to be placed on the ballot. Check with your County Auditor for election dates and filing requirements.

County Offices

Partisan Offices

Partisan Offices on the ballot in 2012 -

  • Auditor
  • Sheriff
  • some County Supervisors

Partisan Offices on the ballot in 2014 -

  • Treasurer
  • Recorder
  • County Attorney
  • some County Supervisors

Petition Requirements - Usually 100 signatures for a party primary, but check with your county auditor.

Filing Deadlines for County Offices (in 2012)

  • March 28 Primary Election
  • August 29 General Election

(All petitions must be filed by 5PM at the county auditor's office.)

Non-partisan Offices Elected at the General Election

  • Agricultural Extension Council
  • Soil & Water Conservation Board
  • Township Clerks & Trustees

Petition Requirements - usually 25 signatures, but check with your county auditor. Filing deadline: August 29, 2012 for the November general election at the county auditor's office.

State Legislature

State Senate - State Senators are elected for four year terms. In 2012, twenty-six seats will be on the ballot, including the even numbered seats from 2-50, and district 49.

State House - State Representatives are elected for two year terms, and in 2010 all 100 seats are on the ballot.

List of Legislators and District Maps

Petition Requirements - 100 signatures from within the district for Senate seats, and 50 signatures from within the district for House seats.

Filing Deadlines for State Legislative Races in 2012

  • March 16 Primary Election
  • August 17 General Election

(All petitions must be filed by 5PM at the Sec. of State's office in Des Moines.)

Statewide Offices

Iowa's Statewide Officers are elected for four year terms during the mid-term elections.

  • Governor
  • Lt. Gov. - Candidates are nominated by party conventions.
  • Secretary of State
  • Auditor
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Attorney Geneneral

The rules for filing a valid petition for governor are complex, and can be found at the Secretary of State's Office.

Petition requirements for all other Statewide offices (besides Governor): 1000 signatures, with at least 50 from each of 10 counties.

Filing Deadlines for All Statewide Races in 2012

  • March 16 Primary Election
  • August 17 General Election


(All petitions must be filed by 5PM at the Sec. of State's office in Des Moines.)

Federal Offices

US Senate - No election in 2012.

US House - Iowa will elect four Representatives in 2012, and they serve for two years.

The rules for filing a valid petition federal offices are complex, and can be found at the Secretary of State's Office.

Filing Deadlines for Federal Races in 2012

  • March 16 Primary Election
  • August 17 General Election

(All petitions must be filed by 5PM at the Sec. of State's office in Des Moines.)

General Information for All Candidates

Campaign Finance Information

You must file a report with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board within ten days of raising $750. Also, candidates for statewide office must file a personal financial disclosure form.

General Candidate Information

Here are two good external links for Candidate Qualifications, Filing Deadlines and Signature Requirements:

School Board

School elections are held separately from other elections, and they are only held in odd-numbered years. The next one will be on September 13, 2011. Filing period: July 11 - August 4, 2011. Petitions must be filed by 5PM at the school district office. Signature requirements: 1% of the registered voters in the school district (as of May 1 of election year) or 50 signatures, whichever is less.

School board members are elected to four year terms.

Voter Information

How to Register

Fill out a voter registration form and mail it to your county auditors office. Voter registration forms are also available in most telephone directories and public libraries. A list of all the auditors offices is available from the Secretary of State or you can call toll free (888) 767-8683. If you move from one county to another, then you must re-register in your new county of residence before the deadline. These are external links:

Where to Vote

Contact your county auditor to find your polling place. Note that sometimes the polling place for school elections is different than for primary and general elections - ask your auditor if you are not sure where to vote.


Voter Qualifications

U.S. citizens are eligible to register to vote in the county where they live. You may register at age 17 ½, but you must be 18 years old to vote. In the past, under Iowa law, anyone convicted of a felony or aggravated misdemeanor lost the right to vote and hold public office; however, in July 2005, Gov. Vilsack issued an order that automatically restored a felon's rights once he or she had completed their sentence.

In January 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad revoked Vilsack's order, so now felon's must once again petition the governor's office to restore their voting rights.

Voter Registration Deadlines

  • May 26, 2012 Last day to register for the primary election.
  • June 5, 2012 Primary election day (7AM-9PM).
  • Oct. 27, 2012 Last day to register for the general election.
  • Nov. 6, 2012 General Election day (7AM-9PM).

(the cutoff time is 5PM for every date)

Iowa also has election day voter registration.

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