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State of North Carolina

Judicial Selection in the States: North Carolina

Overview

Judges: Public financing has been tested, works
June 9, 2013 :: Charlotte Observer

All but one of the 15 N.C. Court of Appeals judges judges who belong to both political parties have added their voices to the chorus...

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Courtesy of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of...

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The North Carolina judiciary consists of the supreme court, the court of appeals, the superior court, and the district court. Partisan elections for judges were established in 1868, but in recent years, the general assembly has moved to nonpartisan elections--for superior court judges in 1996, for district court judges in 2001, and for appellate court judges in 2002.

Nonpartisan elections for appellate court judges were one component of a major judicial selection reform package passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2002. Known as the Judicial Campaign Reform Act, the act also gives appellate court candidates the option of public financing, provides for a voters guide on appellate court candidates, and lowers the limit on contributions to appellate court candidates to $1,000. North Carolina was the first state to adopt full public financing of judicial elections. Passage of the act resulted from the efforts of a broad coalition of groups and individuals known as North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections. Key organizational members of the coalition included the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina Project of Democracy South (now Democracy North Carolina), and Common Cause/North Carolina.