City Elections

What is the City Election?
The city election is held in odd-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to elect city officers and vote on public measures. All cities will hold a regular city election. It is held in conjunction with the regular school election, so the election is known as the city–school election.

All candidates for elective municipal offices shall be nominated under the provisions of Chapter 45 of the Code of Iowa. 


How to get on the Ballot to Become a City Council Candidate?

Candidates collect signatures on nomination petitions to get their names on the ballot at the regular city–school election.  For cities with a population between 100 and 3,499, a candidate must collect at least 10 eligible electors of the city.

Candidates must file nomination papers (an affidavit of candidacy and nomination petitions) with the controlling auditor or the city clerk designated by the county auditor during the city primary election filing period.

Nomination papers and candidate guides are available on the Secretary of State’s website at:

Candidates may start circulating nomination papers at any time, but petition signers still must be eligible electors of the city at the time the petitions are filed with the controlling auditor or designated city clerk.


When is the election filing period?

For cities without primary election provisions, the filing period begins on the 71st day before the regular city–school election and ends at 5:00 p.m. on the 47th day before the regular city–school election.


What are the length of terms for council members?

The Mayor is elected for a term of two (2) years. 

The Council consists of five (5) Council members elected at large for overlapping terms of four (4) years. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 372.4 & 376.2)


Who is eligible to be a candidate?

An eligible elector must be:

â–ª A citizen of the United States
â–ª A resident of Iowa
â–ª At least 18 years old

An eligible elector may not:

â–ª Be a convicted felon (unless voting rights have been restored by the president or governor, including via Executive Order)
â–ª Be currently judged incompetent to vote by a court
â–ª Claim the right to vote in any other place