Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Voters Should Not Forget the Judges

Now that the dust has settled in this presidential election year, I wonder how many people voted for the judicial candidates listed on their ballots? Most of the time and attention this year was focused on the presidential race many voters may not have known those who were running for judicial office. But it is important to discover and compare the qualifications of the candidates for yourself.

Not every state allows people the level of involvement that we have in Ohio in deciding who will serve as a judge. Twenty-nine states have appointed judges while 21 have elections. Ohio elects its judicial candidates in partisan primaries, and then has general elections where party affiliation is not shown on the ballot. The Governor appoints if there is a judicial vacancy, but the people of Ohio will then vote in the next election. To run for the Supreme Court, appeals court, common pleas court, or municipal and county courts, a person must be a practicing lawyer for six years.

Many classrooms conducted mock elections this year for president. This experience, I hope, encourages the students to vote when they reach age 18 and participate in our democracy. Participation in Ohio includes electing judges.

To have your voice heard in choosing who serves on our courts, in each election find the judicial races at the bottom of the ballot and make sure to vote for every race. But before you vote, do your homework and research who you are voting for.