Home

Iowa (IA)

Write-In

A voter may write-in the name of a candidate on the ballot in Iowa.

Voters must write in the name and register the vote by making a mark in the ballot in the appropriate space selecting the write-in option. Otherwise, the vote will likely not be counted.

We encourage all voters in Iowa to write in “Bernie Sanders/Tulsi Gabbard. ” Please see the sample ballot.

In IA, both "Bernie Sanders" and "Bernard Sanders" are acceptable and will be cumulatively totaled. Under the Iowa Administrative Code 721-26.20(5), variations on a name are counted as a single block.

The law regarding photographing ballots in Iowa is unsettled. Law prohibits the use of cameras, cellphones or other electronic devices in voting booths, so Secretary of State Paul Pate has asked voters not to take selfies with ballots. Photos of absentee ballots are OK.

If Senator Sanders would win Iowa’s presidential race as a write-in candidate, this office would notify Senator Sanders and request that he complete the requisite paperwork.

Some relevant Iowa election laws:

(Iowa Code §§ 44.1, 44.2, 43.2, 44.4, 44.17, 45.1,45.4,49.99, 54.5)

From BallotPedia

In Iowa, a write-in candidate is not required to file any special paperwork in order to have his or her votes tallied.

BallotPedia: Write-in candidates, Iowa

Emails from the Secretary of State


More Information


Email on counting write-ins and paperwork from Secretary of State.

Sample Ballot