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Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

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View Poll Results: Do You Vote for Judges in Local Elections
Not An Option in My State
3
14.29%
No, I don't bother even if I'm voting for other things
3
14.29%
Yes, but I just vote for the ones I see signs for (or randomly)
0
0%
Yes, I read up and try to make educated selections
12
57.14%
Other (see below)
3
14.29%
Voters: 21. You may not vote on this poll

Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Old 05-21-20, 07:58 PM
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Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. That recent stink you heard Trump raised about Nevadans getting their ballots by mail? Well at least for me, there isn't a single "politician" on those ballots, only judges. Lots of judges.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why I should vote for these guys, let alone which ones. Who (besides some lawyers) can make an educated decision on whether one person or another should be elected judge or justice of the peace? There aren't even party affiliations to fall back on. Even if I did the requisite research to make an educated choice, I would still feel 100% certain that the guy or gal who put up the most signs or had the nicest picture in their ad would be elected instead. I am all about democracy as a concept, but I feel asking the general public to decide which judges should sit on the bench is just a bad idea.

Do you guys have judge elections in your state, and if so do you vote for them? And do you do research before voting?
Old 05-21-20, 08:06 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Yes, and I always look for any endorsements from minority-led groups like my local chapter of the NAACP because they represent people who are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced.
Old 05-21-20, 08:14 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I used to vote for the better known ones if I like their way of analyzing, but in the last five or more years I've selected all-Democrats and I think that includes judges too.
Old 05-21-20, 08:21 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

If I can find any write up from the local papers I will vote for a judge. If not, I don't vote for them.
Old 05-21-20, 08:39 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
If I can find any write up from the local papers I will vote for a judge. If not, I don't vote for them.
My local paper is owned by Sheldon Adelson, so......
Old 05-21-20, 11:23 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. That recent stink you heard Trump raised about Nevadans getting their ballots by mail? Well at least for me, there isn't a single "politician" on those ballots, only judges. Lots of judges.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why I should vote for these guys, let alone which ones. Who (besides some lawyers) can make an educated decision on whether one person or another should be elected judge or justice of the peace? There aren't even party affiliations to fall back on. Even if I did the requisite research to make an educated choice, I would still feel 100% certain that the guy or gal who put up the most signs or had the nicest picture in their ad would be elected instead. I am all about democracy as a concept, but I feel asking the general public to decide which judges should sit on the bench is just a bad idea.

Do you guys have judge elections in your state, and if so do you vote for them? And do you do research before voting?
Where I live, we don't vote for judges. I used to live in Illinois, where they do have judicial elections. I was fortunate in that there were a dozen or so different bar organizations that would make recommendations. Most of the time, they would recommend electing/retaining the candidate, so it was very easy to pick out the handful who did not get unanimously recommended, research why, and make my own decision.

Voting for judges was very much a Jeffersonian/Jacksonian thing -- they were big on putting as much as possible to popular vote, as opposed to electing some representatives and letting them make more decisions. So states that came in during the early 19th century tend to use judicial elections, as do some of the subsequently admitted states. Pre-1800 states and the rest of the post-Jefferson/Jackson states use appointment. I prefer having judges appointed. I think the overwhelming majority of voters don't do any research so it seems kind of pointless to bother having the election.

Here's the kind of stuff I'd look at it in Chicago: https://www.voteforjudges.org/
Old 05-22-20, 07:48 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I always do when it's on the ballot, but most years I was doing no research and just picking random names, which probably isn't the best way to elect a judge. More recently, I've begun doing a little research before voting, and even though there aren't any party affiliations listed on the ballot, it's actually pretty easy to find out which way they lean.
Old 05-22-20, 09:42 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I vote for everything on the ballot, and judges who aren’t unopposed are the biggest PITA because 98% of the time I have no idea who they are. I’ll look at:

-Bar association ratings (“Exceptionally well qualified,” “qualified,” etc.)
-Endorsements (organizations, other judges, etc.)
-Current and past positions (if they’re already in that job, I assume they can probably already do it; if they’re a rung below, they’re probably ok to make the step up)
-Media recommendations
-Personal statements in the voter pamphlet, though most of them sound the same
-Campaign literature
-If all of the above seem equal or close, I’ll consider diversity aspects

While I’m uncomfortable with the idea of judges doing their jobs with an eye at a political race, I also don’t think it’s terrible to have them accountable to the public. I would be ok with having them appointed (though obviously that can be political too) as long as there were some system of review and accountability.
Old 05-22-20, 10:20 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I'm pretty new to voting for judges, only doing it once so far, so at this point I'm just reading through the blue book that Colorado sends out. It has what I assume is a decent amount of information about each judge. If I can't come to a conclusion, I don't vote. Going forward, I might do more in depth research, using some suggestions from people here.
Old 05-22-20, 10:30 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Sort of. I used to do a cursory look to see if any of them had strong opposition from trial lawyers or the bar association. I'd vote for removal. It's only happened a few times. In 2016 and 2018 I voted for the Democrats, because I am so angry with the Republican party for aligning themselves with Trump.
Old 05-22-20, 11:19 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Yes, and I have a (somewhat) unfair advantage since I practice in front of the judges and know their temperament, ability, etc. I do read up on anyone running for the first time.
Old 05-22-20, 11:27 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

They are on the ballot, and I try to do research before I go and vote, but it is often difficult to find any information. If I can't find anything I will usually not vote in those races because I can't make an informed decision.
Old 05-22-20, 12:32 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Where I live, we don't vote for judges. I used to live in Illinois, where they do have judicial elections. I was fortunate in that there were a dozen or so different bar organizations that would make recommendations. Most of the time, they would recommend electing/retaining the candidate, so it was very easy to pick out the handful who did not get unanimously recommended, research why, and make my own decision.

Here's the kind of stuff I'd look at it in Chicago: https://www.voteforjudges.org/
JasonF ... thank you for the education. In all my years of voting here, I cannot recall ever having to vote in a judicial election. I only recall seeing “Should this judge be retained?” That said, I have seen judicial campaigns in other areas of the state.

So I had to look it up ...

About the Courts in Illinois
When a Supreme, Appellate or Circuit Court Judgeship is vacant or newly created, candidates are nominated at Primary Elections and elected at the General Election. However, any Judge previously elected may, at the expiration of his or her term, have his or her name submitted to the voters on a special judicial ballot without party designation and without an opposing candidate, on the sole question of whether he or she shall be retained in office for another term.


Either I just haven’t paid close enough attention, or I have had a run of unusual circumstances where I have lived. Thank you for the site for future reference though!
Old 05-22-20, 01:17 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by Abob Teff View Post
JasonF ... thank you for the education. In all my years of voting here, I cannot recall ever having to vote in a judicial election. I only recall seeing “Should this judge be retained?” That said, I have seen judicial campaigns in other areas of the state.

So I had to look it up ...

About the Courts in Illinois


Either I just haven’t paid close enough attention, or I have had a run of unusual circumstances where I have lived. Thank you for the site for future reference though!
Note that the site I linked to is specific to Chicago -- if I'm remembering correctly, you're downstate? That said, the statewide bar associations like the Illinois State Bar Association or the Women's Bar Association of Illinois do (I'm pretty sure) issue recommendations statewide, though you may need to go to each association's individual webpage to get them.
Old 05-22-20, 07:48 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I vote in this order of priority:

Female vs male
Liberal vs conservative

If a conservative woman is running against a liberal man, I will vote for him. Otherwise ... girl power.
Old 05-22-20, 09:13 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I vote in this order of priority:

Female vs male
Liberal vs conservative

If a conservative woman is running against a liberal man, I will vote for him. Otherwise ... girl power.
Same, except I'd put gays at the top of my pyramid. This country would run so much better if the gays ran everything. Hollywood isn't enough!
Old 05-23-20, 10:50 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
I vote in this order of priority:

Female vs male
Liberal vs conservative

If a conservative woman is running against a liberal man, I will vote for him. Otherwise ... girl power.
Isn't the stated order of priority wrong then?
Old 05-25-20, 04:17 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I didn’t used to because it’s more effort to research them and I never really got around to it, but now that I vote from home I generally do because if I’m not sure I can look them up.
Old 05-25-20, 05:38 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Yes. My local paper does a pretty good job of offering summaries about each judge on the ballot.
Old 05-25-20, 07:21 PM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

I do wonder if a majority of the voting public put any time researching judges. I don't know for sure how one could find that information out - like for example when an election is almost entirely carried by one party in a state or region, do the judges elected closely align with the party that won big?
Old 06-20-20, 08:48 AM
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Re: Do You Vote For Judges in Elections?

Originally Posted by story View Post
Yes, and I always look for any endorsements from minority-led groups like my local chapter of the NAACP because they represent people who are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced.
I posted this less than a week before George Floyd was killed. I'd say my process is one to try out more and more. Listen to whom is most deeply and disproportionately impacted by a system that needs change.

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