Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Iowa

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Iowa. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Iowa. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates


See also: Iowa elections, 2014

Iowa will have a primary election on June 3, 2014 and a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for primary candidates is March 14, 2014. Only the two major parties, Democratic and Republican, may participate in the primary election. For general election candidates the filing deadline is August 15, 2014.[1]

Deadline Event
March 14, 2014 Candidate filing deadline for the primary election
June 3, 2014 Primary election date
August 15, 2014 Candidate filing deadline for the general election
November 4, 2014 General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of November 2013, Iowa officially recognizes two political parties. In order to be officially recognized, a party's candidate for president or governor must receive at least two percent of the votes cast in the general election.[2]

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Democratic Party platform
Republican Party platform

In most states, the term "Independent" means unaffiliated with a political party. In Iowa, however, that term denotes an affiliation with the Independent Non-political Party Organization (NPPO). Because candidates in Iowa can show affiliation with any NPPO on their nominating petitions, a candidate who wishes to remain unaffiliated must check the box marked "Not affiliated with any organization" on the nominating petition. Candidates with that checked off will be listed as "Nominating Petition Candidates" on the ballot.[3]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Section 43, Title II of the Iowa Code

To be officially recognized as a political party in Iowa, a political organization's candidate must receive at least 2 percent of the votes cast for president or governor in the last general election. If the political organization's candidate did not receive enough votes, it is considered a Non-party Political Organization, or NPPO. NPPOs do not need to file any special paperwork to be recognized by the state. However, they do have name restrictions. NPPOs cannot use a name that is longer than five words, and they cannot use the name, or part of the name, of any officially recognized political party.[4][5][6]

For an NPPO to be officially established as a political party, it must do the following:

  1. Put a candidate for president or governor on the general election ballot.
  2. That candidate must then receive at least 2 percent of the votes for that office.
  3. Once the first two conditions are met, the organization must file an application for political party status with the Iowa Secretary of State. This must be done after the state's canvass of votes but within one year of the general election date.
  4. The new political party's candidate for president or governor must continue to receive 2 percent of the vote at the general election in order to maintain its status as a political party. If a candidate does not receive enough votes, the party's status will be revoked and the process will have to be repeated.[4]

For an example of the number of votes required to be established as a political party, look to the table below.

Votes cast in 2012 presidential election Number of votes needed to be officially recognized by the state
1,582,180[7] 31,644

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

Iowa Secretary of State Office:

Why: Oversees candidate filing and election procedures.
First Floor, Lucas Building
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Telephone: 515-281-0145
Toll Free: 1-888-767-8683
Fax: 515-281-4682

Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board:

Why: Oversees financial reporting for campaigns.
510 E 12th St, Ste 1A
Des Moines, IA 50319
Telephone: (515) 281-4028
Fax: (515) 281-4073

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

Iowa does not place term limits on state executives.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Iowa does not place term limits on state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

See also: List of United States Representatives from Iowa and List of United States Senators from Iowa

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Iowa:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Iowa
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 1 1
     Republican Party 2 3 5
TOTALS as of May 2015 2 4 6

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Iowa:

State Senate

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 26
     Republican Party 24
Total 50

State house

Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 43
     Republican Party 57
Total 100

See also

Figure 1: This is a Statement of Organization form for candidates running for election in Iowa.

External links

Official state and federal links


Other information