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It isn't difficult to run for office in Iowa, but there are many details to pay attention to.
Local elections typically take place during odd numbered years and partisan elections take place during even numbered years.
Regular elections are held in odd-numbered years for School Board and City Councils. This page has more information about specific details for these local elections.
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Regular elections are held in even-numbered years for Federal, State, and County offices. This page has more information about specific details for these larger elections.
There is a limit on what kinds of public measures can be put on a ballot in most cities in Iowa. Some measures can only be requested by petition, and some can only be called by the governing body.
Call the Auditor's Office (319-892-5300) if you don't know if a public measure can be put on a ballot or not.