Polls open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Vote at regular polling places.

In a primary election, no candidates are elected.  Instead, voters who are affiliated with the recognized political parties nominate their candidates to run in the November 2 general election.

Voters must be affiliated with one of the two recognized political parties in Iowa (Democratic and Republican) and can only vote in one party's primary. Any voter may declare or change party affiliation at any time, including Election Day.

Dates and Deadlines

  • March 1-19: Filing period for federal and state offices with Secretary of State.
  • March 8-31: Filing period for county offices with County Auditor.
  • April 22: 5 p.m. deadline to file petition for satellite voting site, 100 signatures.
  • April 24: Military and overseas ballots mailed by this date.
  • April 29: First day for early voting at auditor's office.
  • May 29: Last day to register to vote without additional requirements of Election Day registration, 10 days before the election, 5:00 p.m. Auditor's Office open Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 31: Memorial Day; Auditor's Office closed.
  • June 4: Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail.  Requests must be received in our office by 5 p.m.
  • June 5: Auditor's Office open Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • June 7: Last day to vote early at Auditor's Office (6 p.m.).  Postmark deadline for mailed absentee ballots.
  • June 8: Election Day.  Polls open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Inconclusive Primaries and Special Nominating Conventions

The Code of Iowa (43.52) states that a candidate must win 35% of the vote to win a party nomination.  If no candidate wins 35% in a primary, the primary is inconclusive and the political party must hold a nominating convention.

Parties may also nominate candidates by convention to fill ballot vacancies. The deadline is 81 days before the general election for legislative, statewide and federal offices (August 13, 2010) and 69 days before the election (August 25, 2010) for county offices.

Candidates for lieutenant governor have been nominated by state party conventions since 1990, when the constitutional amendment requiring candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team took effect. Candidates for governor do not have to name a running mate before the primary, and even if they do the name of the running mate is not on the ballot.

Candidates not representing official parties

In order to earn and maintain official political party status, a party must win 2 percent of the vote for president or governor in each general election (Code of Iowa, 43.2).  At present, only the Democratic and Republican parties qualify, though other groups have held full party status in recent years.

In 2008, a new state law allowed groups to complete a petition and become "political organizations." The Green and Libertarian parties have organization status. Voters may register as Greens or Libertarians, but these parties do not participate in the June primary.

Candidates representing political organizations or parties with no official status, or candidates who wish to run with no party designation, do not participate in the primary election.  Instead, they may file through petition or convention procedures in order to appear on the November 2 general election ballot.  Filing dates:

  • Federal, state, state legislative: July 26 - August 13
  • County: August 2 - 25