Farmers Vote 2018 >> How, When and Where to Vote in Iowa’s Primary Elections
Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian, we have answers to your most frequently asked questions about voting in Iowa’s 2018 primaries! For more information on voting in Iowa primaries, please contact your county auditor or the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
Want to learn more about the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture candidates? Check out their answers to our candidate questionnaire on our Candidates' Positions page.
Why do we vote in primaries?Primaries function to “winnow” the field of candidates to just one candidate per party per office. Therefore, primaries are contests between candidates of the same party. The winner of each party’s primary for a specific office will face off in November. The winner in November will then take office the following January.
When is the Iowa primary?Iowa Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians will go to the polls on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 to vote in their respective primaries. The polls will be open on June 5 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Can I vote before June 5?There are options to vote early either through an absentee ballot or in person at your county auditor’s office. Read more about early voting on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website or watch the video below.
If you do not vote early by absentee or in person at your county auditor’s office, you will vote at your regular polling location. If you are not aware where your polling location is,
you can use this address search tool, provided by the Iowa Secretary of State, to find where to vote.
Where do I vote?
Who can participate?To participate in a Republican, Democratic, or Libertarian primary, an individual must be registered to vote in the State of Iowa. The voter must also be registered with the party of the primary they are voting in.
“No Party” registrants, or people who are registered to vote in Iowa but not affiliated with the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian parties, will have to change their registration to a party before they can vote. Since Iowa has same-day voter registration, you can change your registration at your polling location. You can only vote in the primary of the party that you are registered in.
I’m currently registered as “No Party”. Can I vote in a primary?
In 2017, Iowa authorized the requirement of showing a form of identification to vote in an Iowa election. Click
here to see how you can comply with Iowa’s voter I.D. requirements.
What identification do I need to vote?
If none of the candidates surpass 35 percent of the vote, a nominee will be selected by that party at a special convention. Delegates to a convention will include party members from precincts within the district or county. If a statewide race does not produce a winner with 35 percent of the vote, the respective party will pick a nominee at their state convention held later in June. Given the large field of candidates for the Republican nomination for Secretary of Agriculture and the Democratic nomination for governor, there is an elevated potential that none of the candidates will cross the 35 percent threshold. For more information, please visit the websites of the
Republican Party of Iowa,
Iowa Democratic Party
, or the
Libertarian Party of Iowa.
What happens if none of the candidates get 35% in a race?
What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?
Caucuses are events that are organized and administered by our political parties. In presidential years (the next one is in 2020), the Iowa Caucuses' most popular feature is the presidential preference poll. Unlike a primary that determines which candidates will move on to the November general election, the caucus presidential preference poll mostly serves to indicate who may be in good position to continue to other states – though there is nothing legally binding about the caucus results. The Iowa Caucuses are also held during mid-terms (2018, 2022, etc.), and while no presidential voting will take place, the business conducted is also still very important. The precinct caucus is the ultimate grassroots function of Iowa politics. It is where one is elected to a leadership position in one's county party, it is the first step to becoming a delegate to the county, district, state, or national conventions, and it is also where changes to the party’s platform can be introduced.
A primary is an election that is administered by the government, specifically the Iowa Secretary of State and our 99 county auditors. Our primaries, by state law, are scheduled to be the first Tuesday of June. Primaries function to “winnow” the field of candidates to just one candidate per party per office. The winner of each party’s primary for a specific office will face off in November. Even in years where the Iowa Caucuses are held, we’ll still have a primary because they are separate events, with separate purposes, and are administered by separate entities (political parties for caucuses and Secretary of State and County Auditor for primaries).
The office of Secretary of State Paul Pate has several online resources available to learn more about voting in Iowa. Visit their website:
Voter Ready Iowa
More voting resources
This document is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to provide a comprehensive listing or overview of all voting information. Please contact your county auditor or the Iowa Secretary of State’s office for any additional information. This document was last updated on May 7, 2018 and may not necessarily reflect all the most recent or relevant information.
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