Filling out a ballot, when you’re old enough, might take longer than you expect.
That’s because it isn’t all about the presidency — candidates run to represent us in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Iowa Statehouse, county boards, city councils and school boards, too.
This year, voters are picking candidates to represent all of Iowa as a U.S. Senator and to represent Iowa’s four districts in the U.S. House. Voters also get to pick representatives to send to the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines, and there are even more decisions to make, for jobs like county auditor and county sheriff!
So what do all these politicians actually do? Why do they matter? Let’s go over the job duties for some of these elected positions.
There are 100 U.S. Senators, and every state gets two. The U.S. Senate makes up one half of the U.S. Congress, which is in the federal government’s legislative branch. As legislators, U.S. Senators introduce and vote on bills that could become laws. The U.S. Senate also has the sole power to confirm the president’s appointments, including Supreme Court justices. Senators have to be at least 30 years old, and they are up for reelection every six years.
Who is running? Republican Joni Ernst, Democrat Theresa Greenfield, Libertarian Rick Stewart and Suzanne Herzog. (Chuck Grassley holds Iowa’s other Senate spot, and he is not up for reelection this year.)
Whoever wins Iowa’s races for U.S. Representatives will be one of 435 members of the U.S. House. The House is the other half of the U.S. Congress, and its members introduce bills that could become laws and vote on other members’ bills. This group also has the sole power to impeach federal officials, like the president. You have to be at least 25 years old to get this job, and you have to reelected every two years to keep it.
Who is running? Iowa is split into four U.S. House districts. In District 1, which includes Cedar Rapids, it’s Republican Ashley Hinson and Democrat Abby Finkenauer. In District 2, where Iowa City is, it’s Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Democrat Rita Hart.
Iowa State Senator
There are 50 senators in the Iowa State Senate, and 25 of them are up for election this year. Everyone in the group is from Iowa, and they work with the Iowa Governor in Des Moines to create laws and decide how to spend state tax money.
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Who is running? The districts represented by Iowa Statehouse Senators are much smaller than federal offices, so it depends what neighborhood you live in.
Iowa State Representative
In the Iowa House of Representatives, there are 100 seats that are all up for election this year. Also located in Des Moines, the Iowa House makes up the rest of Iowa’s legislative branch, and they work with the State Senate and the Governor to pass bills, set state spending and increase or decrease taxes.
Who is running? The districts represented by Iowa Statehouse Representatives are even smaller than Statehouse Senators’, so this depends on what neighborhood you live in, too.