Primary Election

In a primary election, no candidates are elected.  Instead, voters who are affiliated with political parties nominate their candidates to run in the general election.  Only voters affiliated with a political party may vote, but any Iowa voter may declare or change party affiliation at any time.  Currently, Iowa has two groups with full political party status: the Democratic and Republican parties.

State law created a new category of party called a "political organization" in 2008. These parties do not hold primaries, but are included on voter registration forms. The Greens and Libertarians have qualified as political organizations.  No ballot issues or non-partisan offices may be included with a primary election.

Sample Ballots


Offices that have opposition have candidate names rotated by precinct. View Sample Ballots in the Archive Center. Choose either the Republican or Democrat document.