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Judicial Campaigns and Elections

Voter Guides

Alabama

The Alabama League of Women Voters has prepared an online voters' guide for the 2010 appellate court elections. For each candidate, the guide provides biographical information, educational and professional qualifications, and their answers to fundamental, nonpartisan questions.

Alaska

The Lieutenant Governor publishes an official election pamphlet, which includes information on the judicial evaluation and retention system, the Alaska Judicial Council's evaluations, and paid statements and photographs submitted by candidates. The election pamphlet is mailed to Alaska voters and is available online. Click here for the 2010 pamphlets.

The Alaska Judicial Council also releases evaluations of judges who are up for retention. These evaluations are available here.

Arizona

The commission on judicial performance review issues a report for inclusion in the Voter Information Guide published by the Arizona Secretary of State, which is mailed to all households with a registered voter. The report includes the commission's finding as to whether each judge whose name will appear on the ballot "meets" or "does not meet" performance standards. Any judges who are found not to meet standards are to be listed first. Click here to view the 2010 reports. The commission also uses its website, www.azjudges.info, to disseminate voter information.

Arkansas

Arkansas does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

California

The secretary of state's office distributes a voter information guide for the general election that includes information about the education and professional background of appellate judges standing for retention and about the judicial selection process. The guide is available on the internet and is sent to the home of every registered voter. Click here for information about judges standing for retention in 2010.

Superior court candidates may file a candidate statement for inclusion in the voter's pamphlets prepared by the registrar of voters in each county. However, candidates who wish to be included in the voter's pamphlet may be required to pay their estimated pro rata share of the cost of printing and mailing the statement. Many candidates are unable or unwilling to publish a statement in the voter's pamphlet because of the cost.

Colorado

A Know Your Judge website for the 2010 elections is provided by a partnership of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Judicial Institute, and the League of Women Voters of Colorado.

Click here for the 2010 judicial performance reviews of judges standing for retention.

Connecticut

Connecticut does not publish an official voter guide with information about probate court candidates.

Delaware

Judges do not stand for election in Delaware.

District of Columbia

Judges do not stand for election in the District of Columbia.

Federal

N/A

Florida

Several months before the general election, the Florida Bar produces a pamphlet that explains the merit selection and retention process and includes photographs and biographical information for appellate court judges standing for retention. The pamphlets are made available to the public and to other concerned organizations for distribution. Click here for the 2010 pamphlet.

Georgia

The League of Women Voters of Georgia provides an interactive online voter guide that includes information about judicial races and candidates.

Hawaii

Judges do not stand for election in Hawaii.

Idaho

Idaho does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Illinois

Since the 2002 elections, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has prepared an online voters' guide for judicial elections. The site provides judicial candidate profiles, information on the court system and the election process in Illinois, and links to bar associations and other sources of information. A guide for the 2010 elections is not yet available.

The Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice also provided an online voters' guide for the 2010 general  elections. The site included links to bar association evaluations of judicial candidates.

The Illinois State Bar Association evaluates appellate court candidates and circuit court candidates in Cook County based on background investigations and in-person interviews. The ISBA also conducts a judicial advisory poll for appellate court candidates and circuit court candidates outside Cook County. Click here for the 2010 evaluation and poll results.

The Chicago Council of Lawyers evaluates judges seeking retention and candidates seeking to fill vacancies in contested elections. Click here for the 2010 evaluations.

Indiana

The Indiana Judicial Branch, Division of State Court Administration has created a voter guide, that contains information about the judges and justices who are on the ballot for retention in November. The guide will be available through Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th, 2012.

Iowa

The Iowa Judicial Branch publishes voter information about judges standing for retention. 

The Iowa State Bar Association publishes the results of its judicial plebiscite survey one month before the general election. Click here for the 2012 plebiscite results. 

Kansas

Evaluations for judges standing for retention are provided by the commission on judicial performance. Click here for the 2010 results.

Kentucky

The state board of elections provides a list of judicial races and candidates for 2010. 

Louisiana

Louisiana does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Maine

Maine does not publish an official voter guide with information about probate court candidates.

Maryland

The local chapters of the League of Women Voters of Maryland offer nonpartisan voter guides that include judicial candidates for the primary and general elections. Guides for 2010 are available here.

Massachusetts

Judges do not stand for election in Massachusetts.

Michigan

For the first time in 2000, the Secretary of State's office provided an electronic voter guide with information about statewide candidates, statewide ballot proposals, and political parties. For judicial candidates, the guide provides links to the candidates' website. The 2010 guide is available here.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan offers nonpartisan voter guides for the primary and general elections. For the 2010 election, the guide asks supreme court candidates four questions and provides information about court of appeals races in which all candidates are unopposed.

Minnesota

In its 2010 voter guide, the League of Women Voters Minnesota provides voter information by address that includes a list of judicial races and candidates.

Mississippi

Mississippi does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Missouri

In 2008, Missouri's supreme court amended its rules to establish a judicial performance evaluation program for judges included in the Nonpartisan Court Plan. 2010 evaluation results are available online.

Montana

Montana does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Nebraska

The Nebraska State Bar Association provides a 2010 Judicial Retention Information Kit. The kit includes background information on the Bar's judicial evaluation poll, poll results, profiles of judges standing for retention, and factors to be considered in casting retention votes.

Nevada

Nevada does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

New Hampshire

Judges do not stand for election in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

Judges do not stand for election in New Jersey.

New Mexico

The New Mexico League of Women Voters offers an online voters' guide for 2010 with information on supreme court and court of appeals candidates.

New York

The New York State Unified Court System provides a voter guide for candidates for state trial courts (other than Town and Village Courts). The guide is available in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Click here for the 2010 guide.

North Carolina

Passed in 2002, the Judicial Campaign Reform Act calls for the distribution to all households in the state of a voter guide about appellate court candidates. The voter guide is prepared, published, and distributed by the state board of elections with money from the Public Campaign Fund. The 2010 guide is available here, including a special edition voter guide to educate voters about instant runoff voting in a court of appeals race for which there are thirteen candiates.

The North Carolina Center for Voter Education has provided a voter guide for appellate races since the 2002 elections. The 2010 guide is available here.

North Dakota

North Dakota does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Ohio

The secretary of state offers a searchable voter guide that provides professional, educational, and biographical information about judicial candidates.

The League of Women Voters of Ohio provides a voter's guide that includes supreme court candidates, with biographical information and their answers to three questions. The 2010 guide is available here.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates. 

Oregon

The Oregon State Bar provides a 2010 Judicial Candidate Voting Guide that includes information about the backgrounds and professional histories of judicial candidates. The bar also conducts a judicial preference poll.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates, but the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund's Smart Voter website and the Pennsylvania Bar Association's PAVoteSmart website provide judicial election information.

Rhode Island

Judges do not stand for election in Rhode Island.

South Carolina

South Carolina does not publish an official voter guide with information about probate court candidates.

South Dakota

South Dakota does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Tennessee

Appellate judges standing for retention are evaluated by the judicial performance evaluation commission. The 2010 evaluations are available here.

Texas

The League of Women Voters of Texas provides a 2010 voter's guide for the general election that includes information about candidates for the supreme court and court of criminal appeals.

Utah

Voter information pamphlets are prepared and distributed by the State Elections Office. Pamphlets include information on the selection, retention, and evaluation process; a photograph and a short biography of the professional qualifications of judges standing for retention; and a summary of the judge's performance evaluation results. Pamphlets are mailed to all state residents, placed in state newspapers, and provided to county clerk offices. The 2010 pamphlet is available online.

Vermont

Vermont does not publish an official voter guide with information about probate court candidates.

Virginia

Judges do not stand for popular election in Virginia.

Washington

By virtue of a 1912 constitutional amendment, the secretary of state's office has published a voter pamphlet for every general election since 1914. Judicial candidates were first included in 1972. However, the voter pamphlet was only distributed for the general election, did not include all judicial positions, and did not require disclosure of a candidate’s professional qualifications. In 1996, by order of the Washington Supreme Court, a judicial voter pamphlet was prepared for the primary elections through a public/private partnership between the office of the administrator of the courts (OAC) and Washington newspapers. The pamphlet was the result of a recommendation made in 1996 by the Walsh Commission, which was appointed to consider improvements to Washington's judicial selection process. The judicial voter pamphlet was prepared again in 1998. In 2000, the secretary of state's office published its first voter pamphlet for the primary elections and worked with the OAC to provide expanded information about judicial candidates. The pamphlet included such information as candidate backgrounds and personal statements. In 2002, the OAC and Washington newspapers again assumed the responsibility for preparing and disseminating the judicial voter pamphlet for the primary elections. The guide was available on the Washington courts’ website, and a video version featuring supreme court candidates was aired on the state’s public television network. In 2010, judicial candidates were included in the secretary of state's voters' guide for the general election, along with a fact sheet on judicial elections in Washington. For more information about voter guides in Washington, see Judicial Selection Reform: Examples from Six States.

A website called Voting for Judges offers information regarding candidate ratings, endorsements, and campaign contributors.

West Virginia

West Virginia does not publish an official voter guide with information about judicial candidates.

Wisconsin

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin provides a voters' guide for the spring nonpartisan elections, which are held in odd-numbered years. The guide includes photographs and biographical information for appellate court candidates and their answers to several questions posed by the league. There are no appellate court races on the ballot in the fall of 2010.

Wyoming

The League of Women Voters of Wyoming provided a Judicial Voters Guide for 2008. Information regarding the 2010 election is not yet available.