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Template:Iacandidateprocess

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The process to become a candidate is governed by Title II of the Iowa Code.

There are four ways a candidate may get on the ballot:

  • By primary election[1]
    • Candidates accessing the ballot by running in the primary election must be members of a recognized political party. Non-party Political Organizations (NPPOs) are not allowed to participate in the primary election.
    • These candidates must file an Affidavit of Candidacy and nominating petitions 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.[2] The Affidavit of Candidacy and the nominating petitions must be filed together or else they will be rejected.
  • By political party convention[3]
    • If a political party fails to nominate a candidate at the primary election, they 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, political party convention candidates may file their documents before the filing period begins for general election candidates.
  • By Non-party Political Organization (NPPO) convention[3]
    • NPPOs are allowed to hold conventions to nominate their candidates. However, in order to qualify their nominations, they must meet the following requirements:[4]
      • To nominate a candidate to a state executive office, such as Governor of Iowa, 250 eligible electors, meaning people who meet all the requirements to register to vote whether or not they are registered, 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 Congress, 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 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.
      • 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.
    • Conventions may be held at any time as long as it is before the general election filing deadline.[5]
    • 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.[5] These documents must be filed together or else they will be rejected.[3] They must be filed 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.[6]
  • By petition[3]
    • Candidates who are not affiliated with any political party or NPPO are elected in this manner. It is also a way for NPPO candidates to be elected if the NPPO cannot meet the convention attendance requirements.
    • 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 or else they will be rejected.[6]
    • NPPO candidates designate the name of their NPPO on the nominating petition. Unaffiliated candidates must check the box that says, “Not affiliated with any organization,” on the nominating petition. On the ballot, it will say "Nominated by petition" next to their name.

Any registered voter may challenge a candidate's nominating petition, as long as it is done in writing and within 74 days of the corresponding election.[7][6]

The table below shows the signature requirements for candidates using nominating petitions.

Type of election Office Sought Number of signatures needed
Primary Governor or United States Senator Equal to one 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 one percent of the total votes the candidate's party received in the last general election[8]
Primary Other state executive offices, such as Secretary of State or Treasurer 1,000, including 50 from each of at least 10 counties in the state[8]
Primary United States Representative Equal to two 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 one percent of the total vote of the candidate's party in that district[8]
Primary State Senator 100 from the senatorial district[8]
Primary State Representative 50 from the representative district[8]
General United States Senator or state executive office, such as Governor or Treasurer 1,500 collected from at least 10 counties[3]
General United States Representative 375 from the representative district[3]
General State Senator 100 from the senatorial district[9]
General State Representative 50 from the representative district[9]