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.

Important 2020 Polling Place Information click here.



2020 Primary Election



  • February 3: First day to request mailed absentee ballots.
  •  February 24 - March 13, Federal and State candidate filing period. File with the Iowa Secretary of State. 
  • March 2 - March 25, County candidate filing period. File with the auditor's office.  Signature requirements: 90 signatures for Republicans and 60 for Democrats (2% of party vote in last general election, maximum 100)
  •  April 23: First day to mail domestic absentee ballots. (Temporary change from May 4 due to COVID-19 emergency.) 
  • May 4 - First day for in-person absentee voting at auditor's office and first day to mail domestic absentee ballots.  
  • May 22 - Voter pre-registration deadline and last day to request mailed absentee ballot, by 5 p.m. Voters are still able to register after this date using election day registration procedure. For election day registration requirements click here.
  • May 25: Memorial Day, office closed.
  • June 1: Last day for in-person absentee voting, 7:45 AM to 5:00 PM Postmark deadline for mailed absentee ballots.
  • June 2: Election Day. Polls open 7 AM until 9 PM