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Template:Iacandidateprocess

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DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title II of the Iowa Code

Iowa allows any registered voter to challenge a candidate's nominating petition, as long as the challenge is done in writing and within 74 days of the corresponding election.[1][2]

There are four ways in which a candidate can gain access to the ballot. These are detailed below.

By primary election

A candidate accessing the ballot by running in the primary election must be a member of a recognized political party. Non-party Political Organizations (NPPOs) are not permitted to participate in primary elections. A primary candidate must file an Affidavit of Candidacy and nominating petition with the Iowa Secretary of State during the primary election filing period, which begins 99 days before the primary and ends at 5 p.m. on the 81st day before the primary. The Affidavit of Candidacy and the nominating petition must be filed simultaneously.[3][4]

For the number of signatures required for nominating petitions, see the table below.

Office sought Number of signatures needed
Governor or United States Senator Equal to 1 percent of the voters of the candidate’s party, in each of at least 10 counties of the state and in total no less than one half of 1 percent of the total votes the candidate's party received in the last general election[5]
State executive office (other than governor) 1,000, including 50 from each of at least 10 counties in the state[5]
United States Representative Equal to 2 percent of the voters of the candidate’s party in the last general election in each of at least one half of the counties in the representative district and in total no less than 1 percent of the total vote of the candidate's party in that district[5]
State Senator 100 from the senatorial district[5]
State Representative 50 from the representative district[5]

By political party convention

If a political party fails to nominate a candidate at the primary election, the party may hold a convention after the primary to nominate a candidate. That candidate must then file a political party convention certificate and an Affidavit of Candidacy. The deadline to file the convention certificate and Affidavit of Candidacy is the same as the general election filing deadline. However, a political party convention candidate may file his or her documents before the filing period begins for general election candidates.[6]

By Non-party Political Organization (NPPO) convention

[6]

Non-party Political Organizations (NPPOs) are permitted to hold conventions to nominate their candidates. However, in order to qualify their nominations, NPPOs must meet the following requirements:[7]

  • To nominate a candidate to a state executive office or the United States Senate, 250 eligible electors, meaning people who meet all the requirements to register to vote, must attend the convention, and 25 counties must be represented by at least one eligible elector each.
  • To nominate a candidate to the United States House of Representatives, 50 eligible electors who are residents of the congressional district the candidate seeks to represent must attend, including one eligible elector from at least half of the counties in the district.
  • To nominate a candidate to the Iowa State Senate, 20 eligible electors who are residents of the senatorial district must attend, including one eligible elector from one half of the precincts in the senatorial district.
  • To nominate a candidate to the Iowa House of Representatives, 10 eligible electors who are residents of the representative district must attend, including one eligible elector from one half of the precincts in the representative district.
  • A convention may be held at any time as long as it is before the general election filing deadline.[8]
  • After the convention, the NPPO must provide a list of those who attended the convention, including their addresses, to the Iowa Secretary of State, along with a convention certificate and Affidavit of Candidacy for the candidate nominated. These documents must be filed together during the general election filing period, which begins 99 days before the general election and ends at 5 p.m. 81 days before the general election.[8][6][2]

By petition

[6]

A candidate who is not affiliated with any political party or NPPO can be nominated in this manner. An NPPO candidates can gain ballot access in this manner if the NPPO cannot meet the convention attendance requirements. A petition candidates must file an Affidavit of Candidacy and nominating petition with the Iowa Secretary of State. These forms must be filed together by 5 p.m. 81 days before the general election.[2]

The table below shows the signature requirements necessary for obtaining ballot access by petition.

Office sought Number of signatures needed
United States Senator or State executive office 1,500 collected from at least 10 counties[6]
United States Representative 375 from the representative district[6]
State Senator 100 from the senatorial district[9]
State Representative 50 from the representative district[9]