Sunday, October 26, 2014

Finish the Ballot - vote for the judges

As the above video, prepared by the Arizona Bar Association, explains, in the state's three most populous counties, judges are first selected for the job based on merit (explanation video here).  After that, they are periodically subject to "retention" election - if a judge gets more "no" votes than "yes" votes, he or she loses the job.

Most voters aren't familiar with individual judges (and that's mostly a good thing - the easiest way to become familiar with a judge is to have to appear in court).  Even politically active people (like me) are only a little more knowledgeable about the members of our judiciary, in that the names of the five justices of the state supreme court are slightly familiar.

To help voters learn how well judges are doing their jobs, the state's Judicial branch has set up the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review (JPR).

One of the things that JPR does is survey the people who interact with our judges and solicit feedback on the judges' professionalism, fairness, and the way that they operate their courts.

The judges are then evaluated by JPR and given a grade of "meet" or "does not meet" performance standards.

JPR's performance reports on the individual judges are here.

One judge in Maricopa County and one in Pima County earned a "does not meet" evaluation.

If you have an early ballot, they should be put in the mail by October 31 so that they reach the county recorder by November 4.  Otherwise, bring your ballot to any polling place on Election Day.

The state bar association has created a contest for Instagram videos that encourage people to "Finish the ballot. Vote for the judges!"

More information on the contest here.

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