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May 26

What is a Primary Election, Anyway?

Posted on May 26, 2022 at 11:59 AM by Britt Nielsen

Voting Booths

The June 7, 2022, Primary Election is rapidly approaching, and “Early” In-Person Voting is already underway at the Linn County Auditor’s Office.


In a Primary Election, voters of the Republican and Democratic parties cast their vote to determine which candidates will represent their respective parties in the General Election on November 8. The winners in a Primary Election are not “elected” to office. Rather, the winning candidates gain the Party’s nomination to represent the party on the General Election ballot.  Voters participating in November’s General Election determine which candidates are elected to office. 


In the State of Iowa, Primary Elections are closed. A voter must declare affiliation to either the Democratic or Republican Party in order to qualify to vote that Party’s Primary Election ballot.  That means only registered Democrats can vote for Democratic Primary candidates and only registered Republicans can vote for Republican Primary candidates. If a voter is registered as any other party, Independent, or No Party, that voter must declare either the Democratic or the Republican Party in order to qualify to vote. Party affiliation may be changed again after the Primary Election.  


Iowa law allows eligible voters to register to vote on Election Day. Newly registered voters declaring affiliation to the Democratic or Republican Party will be eligible to vote the respective Party’s ballot. For a new voter registration, Election Day Registration must be completed at the correct polling location or during “Early” In-person Voting. Visit the Election Day Registration webpage for more information.  


Every voter is encouraged to verify his or her assigned Election Day Polling Place by using the Linn County Elections lookup tool. Many Polling Places have changed as a result of the 2021 redistricting of Linn County following the 2020 Census. Being aware of changes prior to Election Day is essential for a smooth voting experience.  


Please remember to bring an approved form of identification to the Polls.


Learn more about the June 7 Primary Election and all things election-related in Linn County on the Linn County Election Services website at