Please keep voting all the way down your ballot! Out of a population of about 150,000 in Monroe County, we have 91,394 people registered to vote. Of those, I'm predicting that maybe 6,500 will vote in the judicial elections this primary (based on past years where there's a primary in a non-presidential year). If that proves true, and if there are no Republicans appointed over the summer, that means just seven percent of voters are picking the judges. Be one of the seven percent!
Why Not Merit-Based Selection?
Well, I like that idea, in theory.
But in practice, merit-based ends up being about who is best known to the merit panel.
And then there's always the question of who is on the merit panel. The local bar association board? I'm on our local bar association board and I don't think we should pick our next judge. The governor? Again, I'm not a fan of that idea.
In Marion County, the practice for many years was that if a candidate gave a sufficiently sizable donation to the political party, that the candidate would be slated for judge by the party. The new practice in Marion County is merit-based, joining Allen, St. Joseph, and Lake Counties in straying from the rest of the state, but I have concerns that the process disenfranchises voters in a majority black community when the rest of Indiana gets to vote. Voting is not perfect, but I'm going to cite Winston Churchill:
No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…
What Kind of Cases Will Each New Judge Hear?
Best guess? Of the three new judges, one will hear criminal cases and two will hear civil and family cases. For more information, see the FAQ portion of this website.
Who is Running for What?
Right now, we have seven candidates for the three open judicial seats. All candidates are on the Democratic ticket for the primary. There are no Republican candidates at this time, although the local Republican Party could caucus in candidates over the summer.
Which Candidates Can I Vote For?
Every voter in Monroe County can vote in each of the three judicial elections in 2018. The seat numbers don't represent districts, like a city council or county council district.
The top vote-getter for each seat wins; not like an at-large race where the top three vote-getters overall get the three spots.
How do I Evaluate a Candidate?
Well, I happen to have written a whole blog series on this. :)
Start with Evaluating a Candidate for an overview, and read on if you have time.