Filing period for Iowa's minor-party and independent candidates begins

The general election filing period for candidates seeking state or federal offices in Iowa began today and runs through Friday, August 19, at 5:00 pm. The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office will update the candidate list daily. John Deeth often reports notable filings at his blog.

Candidates hoping to run for the Iowa House or Senate as a Democrat or Republican, who did not win their party’s primary on June 7, must be nominated by a special convention in the appropriate district. Candidates affiliated with minor political parties (such as the Libertarian or Green Party) or no party organization must file nominating papers including petitions with a certain amount of signatures, depending on the office sought.

Getting on the ballot is relatively easy in Iowa, compared to some states. I enclose below three pages from the Secretary of State’s candidate guide, including the signature and other requirements for candidates seeking various offices. Click here for the full 21-page document.

In 2014, I wondered why obscure U.S. Senate candidate Rick Stewart was identified on the Iowa ballot as an “independent,” while fellow candidate Ruth Smith was identified by her name only. The Secretary of State’s Office guide explains,

The term “independent” is used by candidates and the general public to refer to candidates who are not running under any party or NPPO’s ticket. In Iowa, if a candidate writes the word “Independent” on nomination papers, that candidate is indicating membership in the “Independent” NPPO [non-party political organization] and will be listed on the ballot that way. If a candidate intends to run without any party or NPPO affiliation, the box next to “Not affiliated with any organization” on the nomination petition and affidavit of candidacy should be checked. The candidate’s name will appear on the ballot without any reference to a party affiliation.

Early voting in Iowa will begin 40 days before the general election, on Thursday, September 29. Other important dates can be found on this general election calendar.

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