Marshall County
ATTENTION VOTERS In Iowa, the Primary Election is considered as part of the nominating process for the political parties to pick their candidates for the fall election. Iowa Code [43.42, 43.43] requires that all voters in a Primary Election MUST declare a political party in order to participate in the process. Currently, there are three political parties in Iowa: the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Libertarian Party. NOTE: Your voter registration record will be changed if you ask for a ballot for a political party different from the party shown on your voter registration record. After the Primary Election is closed, you can fill out a new Voter Registration form and change back to your original party.

Q.  What is the Primary Election?

A.  The Primary Election is an election by the political parties to nominate their candidates for the General Election ballot.  No one is elected in a Primary election; candidates are nominated.  In order to win a political party nomination, the candidate must receive more votes than anyone else in his/her party for that race and receive at least 35% of the votes cast for that office by members of their political party.

Q.  Why is the Primary Election different from other types of elections?

A.  The difference between Primary Elections and other elections is that a voter’s party affiliation must be declared and it must be included on election registers, eligibility slips, absentee ballot requests and absentee ballot affidavits.

Q.  If I am registered as No Party can I still vote in the Primary Election?

A.  Yes.  However, you will have to re-register with one of the two parties in order to cast a ballot.  Only voters registered with one of the three parties (Democratic, Libertarian or Republican) may vote in the Primary Election.

Q.  Can I change my party affiliation at the time that I vote?

A.  Yes.

Q.  If I declare one party to vote for in the Primary Election can I change back to my previous registration?

A.  Yes.  However, you may not do so the same day as voting.  You will need to complete a new voter registration application.   The change will be processed after the Primary Election has been certified and vote credit has been posted for every voter.

Q.  If I vote a Democratic ballot, can I write in a Republican for an office and vice-versa?

A.  Primary election voters are making nominations for their own political parties.  A write-in vote for a Republican candidate on a Democratic ballot will be tallied as a Democratic vote, not a Republican vote.

Q.  How do nonpartisan candidates get on a ballot?

A.  Nonpartisan candidates file nomination papers for the General Election. The filing period for nonpartisan candidates is August 5 – August 28, 2024. The Primary Election is held to nominate political party candidates to the General Election ballot; therefore, candidates not affiliated with the three recognized political parties cannot participate in the Primary Election.



Q.  What about Primary races where no candidate filed?

A.  In order to win a political party’s nomination and have their names placed automatically on the General Election ballot, a write-in candidate must have at least 35% of the number of votes that were cast by the party’s voters for the same office the last time the party had a candidate for that office on the Primary Election ballot.

Write-ins votes needed to achieve nomination (35% required)

2024 Republican Primary


Last Primary w/candidate

Total Votes


County Supervisor

(vote for two)


3,053/2 =



County Auditor




County Sheriff









Calculate per §43.66

Total Votes


State Rep District 49




State Rep District 50





Q.  What if no write-in candidate achieves the necessary 35%?

A.  If a political party fails to make a nomination at the Primary Election, the party can hold a convention to nominate a candidate for that office.

Q.  Why isn’t the presidential race on my ballot?

A.  Iowa is a caucus state; the office of President (and Vice President) of the United States is only on the ballot for the General Election in November. The political parties hold caucuses to determine delegates for the county, and ultimately, the district, state and national conventions. The parties’ national conventions then select their parties’ nominees for President and Vice President.  In 2024, the Iowa Caucuses were held on January 15.

This webpage was printed on July 22, 2024. For the most current election-related information, visit the Marshall County, Iowa, Elections website at
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