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Running for Office

Candidate Information

  • How do I run for office?
    • For detailed information on running for county, city or school positions, interested candidates can get the necessary information from their Local County Website, the County Auditor's office, or the appropriate City Hall or School Secretary's Office. Candidate information is also available at the Secretary of State website for the above offices, as well as for state and federal offices. Persons interested in Township, Soil and Water, and Agricultural Extension positions should contact their County Auditor’s office.
  • What are the responsibilities of the County Board of Supervisors?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The Board of Supervisors is the legislative body of the county, composed of 3 or 5 members. They serve as the policymakers for the county and administer the various county programs. Their powers include reviewing budget requests, appropriating funds, establishing county tax levies, enacting ordinances, filling employee vacancies and hearing reports from county officers. The board is also responsible for overseeing economic development in the county.

  • What are the responsibilities of the County Attorney?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The County Attorney's primary responsibilities are to provide legal counsel for the Board of Supervisors and to act as legal representative for the county in court cases. With regard to the latter responsibility, the county attorney represents the county either as a defendant or plaintiff in a civil suit. In cases where a crime has been committed in the county, he/she acts as the prosecuting attorney and presents the county’s case at the trial. The County Attorney is also responsible for fine collections and juvenile justice.

  • What are the responsibilities of the County Auditor?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The County Auditor serves in an office which is much diversified. One of the Auditor’s many duties is to serve as secretary to the Board of Supervisors. As such, the Auditor has control over the records of the board. Auditor’s election responsibilities include registering voters, supervising precinct election officials, publishing election notices, and acting as custodian of election records. Auditors are commissioner of elections for school board, city, county, state and federal elections. Real estate transfers and numerous other records are handled through the County Auditor’s office. The auditor also acts as the county’s financial officer.

  • What are the responsibilities of the County Recorder?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The primary function of the County Recorder is to record various legal documents. Detailed records are kept for various legal instruments (deeds, mortgages, condemnations, affidavits and powers of attorney). Other records include birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, uniform commercial code filings, military discharges, trade names, articles of incorporations, deeds of trust for railroad corporations, hunting licenses, boat and snowmobile licenses, and passport applications.

  • What are the responsibilities of the County Sheriff?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The County Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer for the county. Administration of the county jail is only one of the sheriff’s many duties. The sheriff is also required to make special investigations into alleged law violations when directed by the County Attorney. In unincorporated areas of the county the sheriff is responsible for law enforcement. The sheriff also provides law enforcement services to towns that contract with the office. Finally, the sheriff issues all gun permits and is in charge of the county drug task force.

  • What are the responsibilities of the County Treasurer?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      The County Treasurer’s office is one of the primary offices where people come to do business with the county. Anyone owning property or a vehicle is served by this office. The County Treasurer receives payment for motor vehicle registration and sales/transfers of vehicles. It is the treasurer’s duty to register vehicle titles and distribute license plates. The County Treasurer oversees all county funds and handles investment functions. As such he/she is required to make a semi-annual settlement with the Board of Supervisors and to report all fees collected. It is the treasurer’s duty to collect all taxes certified by the County Auditor. In many counties, the treasurer also issues driver licenses.

  • What are the responsibilities of a Mayor?
    • Term: Depending on city charter, either 2 or 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a regular city election.

      Under Iowa state law, the mayor has two official roles in city government. A mayor is the presiding officer of the City Council and the chief executive officer of the city. A mayor has to carefully balance both policy making and administrative responsibilities. Policy making involves confronting the broader problems and issues facing an organization, considering alternative actions, and making decisions on what should be done. Administration involves overseeing the organizational operations at a lower level, getting involved in directing and managing specific activities, and participating directly in carrying out organizational policies.

      As the chief executive officer, the mayor has the power to execute the laws of the city - measures passed by the City Council, including ordinances, resolutions and amendments. Mayors also have powers to appoint officials. Some are set by state law, others are delegated to the mayor by the City Council.

      Mayors supervise all city officers and departments unless that authority has been assigned to someone else by your city's ordinances. Where the mayor does not have a supervisory obligation, he or she may have a duty to investigate charges of misconduct.

  • What are the responsibilities of a City Council Member?
    • Term: Depending on city charter, either 2 or 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a regular city election.

      City Council Members have a broad range of responsibilities and powers. City Council responsibilities cover a wide variety of policy making and other activities. Individual City Council members have a duty to be informed about their municipality and to actively participate in the governing process.

      The City Council has the powers to adopt ordinances and resolutions when acting as a group. City Council Members are the legislators of the city council and have the duty to responsibly govern their city. At council sessions, this duty generally includes attending meetings regularly and punctually, actively participating in debate, respecting citizens and fellow council members, and following democratic procedures. Outside the Council meetings, this duty usually includes meeting with constituents, keeping informed about the city and its activities, taking advantage of training opportunities, and conducting everyday affairs in a dignified and proper manner. Council Members are important public officials who represent the city both in and out of Council meetings.

  • What are the responsibilities of a School Board Member?
    • Term: 4 years from 1st organizational meeting after School Election is canvassed. Usually sometime in late September or early October.

      See the website for the Iowa Association of School Boards for more information.

  • What are the responsibilities of a Township Trustee?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      Township Trustees are elected by only those township residents living outside of incorporated cities and towns and are responsible for fire protection, ambulance services, cemeteries, and resolving fence disputes. They may also provide other services such as township halls, parks, libraries, community centers and playgrounds.

      The 3 elected Township Trustees are required by law to meet at least twice a year. Once to adopt a budget and establish a tax levy rate and again to approve the Annual Report which reflects the financial activities for the prior fiscal year.

  • What are the responsibilities of a Township Clerk?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election held in an even year.

      Township Clerks serve as the secretary to the Township Trustees, as well as the chief financial officer for the township. Under the Trustees’ supervision, the Clerk prepares the budget and annual reports. The Clerk is responsible for receiving and paying out township funds and preparing agendas and official minutes of all township meetings.

  • What are the responsibilities of a County Agricultural
    Extension Council Member?
    • Term: 4 years beginning on the 1st day of January following a general election.

      Extension Council Members represent the diverse groups, issues and concerns that characterize their county by identifying the needs of public and private enterprises, families, and communities in their county and linking to resources of Iowa State University. Council Members are also asked to assist in marketing Extension to their county as well as cooperate with the US Department of Agriculture and Iowa State University in delivery of programming. Additional responsibilities include preparing an annual budget and the hiring and evaluation of Extension staff.

  • What are the responsibilities of a County Soil and Water
    Conservation District Commissioner?