Cityscape — May 2015
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Guest's Viewpoint

It is a huge honor for me to once again serve as Iowa Secretary of State. This marks my second stint as Iowa’s chief elections officer. My previous tenure began 20 years ago, in 1995. I also served six years in the Iowa Senate and as mayor of Cedar Rapids from 2002-2006. During that tenure as Cedar Rapids’ mayor, I was elected president of the Iowa League of Cities, in September 2005.

It was a great experience working with local leaders across the state. It gave me great perspective on both the challenges and rewards our cities face. Now, as Secretary of State, I am pleased to work with you once again.

The Secretary of State’s Office assists city officials with executing their elections and making sure city clerks are getting the technical information and training they need. Cities needing assistance from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office can call, email or even visit, at any time. We also organize training opportunities, provide online educational materials and conduct workshops. We are happy to record an elections webinar with the Iowa League of Cities, and that will be available after May 12 (additional information can be found at

There is a change in election law relating to cities since the last election. Previously, city clerks served as the filing officers for city elections and were charged with accepting nomination papers from city candidates. However, the law was changed, and that responsibility was transferred to the county auditor.

Nomination papers can still be distributed by city clerks, as well as by other parties, and are available on the Secretary of State’s Web site. However, beginning with the 2015 city elections completed nomination papers must be returned to the county auditor’s office so that they can be immediately reviewed by election staff and are available for inspection during normal business hours. This law change was made because many clerks in smaller cities serve only on a part-time basis. For more information, The City Clerk’s Guide to City Elections is presently available on the Secretary of State Web site at

If you need more information about this or any other assistance with city elections, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I truly appreciate all the work you do on the city level. As you already know, there is really no part-time city council member or part-time mayor, because you are responsible to your constituents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I met some very dedicated people during my tenure as president of the Iowa League of Cities. It was a pleasure working with them, and I am honored to be working with you once again as Iowa Secretary of State. Thank you for your service.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate