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Election tool kit

2023 School Election Toolkit

Local elections matter: Here's how you can get involved to win
School and community college trustee boards have a tremendous influence on the quality of education in our communities. Critical decisions on education policy, funding distribution, professional salaries and benefits, and working conditions are made at the local level. Those of us who work in public education must advocate for candidates who support strong public schools.

How to use this toolkit

Welcome to the 2023 ISEA School Election Toolkit! Whether you are a voter, an organizer or a candidate, this toolkit will assist you in understanding and participating in the electoral process. In this toolkit you'll find.  

1. Resources for voting.

2. Resources for local associations.

3. Resources for candidates

Recommended candidates

Download the list of candidates recommended by the education professionals who work and live in the communities board members are elected to serve. 

Resources for voting

Resources for voting

Here you can find what you need to make sure you're ready to vote on or before Nov. 7 Election Day.
Check your voter registration

Did you know 39 percent of Iowa's registered voters were moved to an "inactive" voter list after the 2022 General Election? 

Under Iowa's new law, voters who do not participate in the most recent general election are moved to an “inactive” status. While inactive voters can still cast a ballot in the next two general elections, failure to do so could lead to full removal from the voter rolls. This law created a pathway for a practice known as a voter registration purge. The result is voter suppression, plain and simple.

By voting in the 2023 elections, inactive voters protect their voter status and are moved back to active registration. 

Make sure you're registered and know your polling place by clicking here.

Your school election timeline

Aug. 28 - Candidate filing begins (50 signatures needed in most elections).

Aug. 29 - First day to turn in absentee ballot request forms to county auditor.

Sept. 21 - Candidate filing closes. 

Oct. 18 - First day of early voting via absentee by mail or in-person at county auditor's office or a satellite voting location.

Oct. 23 - Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail and last day to pre-register to vote.

Nov. 6 - Last day to vote early in-person at your county auditor's office.

Nov. 7 - Election Day! Polls open 7 am to 8 pm (bring your ID!).

    Voter registration and absentee ballot request forms

    You must turn in your Absentee Ballot Request form to your county auditor's office between Aug. 29 and Oct. 23. Your county auditor will then mail you an absentee ballot you can fill an and return marked with your candidate choices. Those ballots must be returned to your county auditor - not mailed by, but in their office - by Election Day to be counted.

    You can download an Absentee Ballot Request form here.

    You must turn in your voter registration form to your county auditor's office by Oct. 23 OR register on Election Day at your polling place in order to vote, if you are not already registered. 

    You can download a Voter Registration form here.   

    County auditor addresses

    Not sure where your county auditor office is located? 

    No worries. You can find a full list of county auditor offices here.  

    Important voting information
    • A voter ID number is required on absentee ballot request forms: Driver's license number or voter ID card PIN are valid voter ID numbers.
    • It is a criminal offense to assist voters outside of your home with delivering their completed absentee ballot to the county auditor.
    • Voter ID required on Election Day: Iowa driver's license; Iowa non-operator's ID; U.S. passport; military ID; veterans ID; or voter ID card.
    • Election Day voter registration available with a photo ID and proof of residency such as utility bill.

    Resources for local associations

    Resources for local associations

    Do's and don'ts of local elections download

    Candidate forum guidance download

    Guide to interviewing and recommending candidates download 

    School board candidate interview questions download

    Community college board candidate interview questions download


    Resources for candidates

    Resources for candidates

    Connect with your local education association

    Considering running for a school board seat? Already decided? 

    Connect with your local education association to get the perspective from education professionals who work in our buildings, drive the routes, care for and support our public school students every day. Click here


    Resources from the Iowa Association of School Boards

    The Iowa Association of School Boards published an excellent toolkit for people seeking election as school board members. Click here for the IASB toolkit.

    Iowa Secretary of State guide to school elections

    This guide to the Nov. 7 elections covers many aspects of running for school board from petition signatures to candidate qualifications and includes a FAQ section. Click here to download the guide

    Mike Beranek
    "It is not about the D; it is not about the R; it is about the E for education."
    Quote by: Mike Beranek, president, Iowa State Education Association

    Ready to stand up for public schools?

    We need to build our communities. We need to fully fund public schools. We need to hold our elected leaders accountable to the people. And we need your help to make it happen.
    ISEA members pose for a picture after canvassing.

    Stand Up & Speak Out!

    At the heart of the association's lobbying strategy is the grassroots involvement of members in every corner of the state.

    Check out advocacy & action resources exclusively for ISEA members.


    Leading in our schools, communities, and state.

    The Iowa State Education Association works to promote, advance, and protect public education, the education profession, and the rights and interests of our members. When you join the ISEA, you’re joining forces with the power and influence of 3.2 million members nationwide.