What are Judicial Elections?
Judicial elections are an important part of the American justice system because they determine which judges or candidates will be chosen to serve. Each judge is influential in interpreting the constitution, defining the rights of the people, and determining the laws of society. Judicial decision-making can range from guilty or innocent verdicts to deciding the best policy for taxes.
Judicial Elections in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, judicial elections only occur during even-numbered years. Under judicial elections, there are partisan and retention elections. Partisan elections list candidates on the ballot, whereas retention elections determine if a judge should remain in office for another term. Illinois is one of the few states that select state court judges through partisan elections followed by nonpartisan retention elections. A declaration of candidacy must be filed six months before the general election for all judges who are seeking retention.
Illinois State Bar Association
There are many resources for learning more about judicial candidates and judges seeking retention. The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) provides evaluations and ratings so that voters can review the qualifications of candidates. During judicial evaluations, members of the ISBA Judicial Evaluations Committee will complete detailed background investigations. After an investigation is finished, an in-person interview of the candidate or judge will take place. When all the necessary information is present, the committee will then rate and evaluate the candidate or judge.
Why are Judicial Elections Necessary?
Judicial elections have a major impact on millions of people. Judges play a necessary role in the American justice system because they interpret, inform, and instruct. As members of the judiciary, it is their responsibility to deliver justice and uphold the law according to their jurisdictions. All judges in the state of Illinois must be U.S. citizens, circuit/county residents, and licensed to practice law in Illinois. Each qualified judge must be fair and unbiased to make these important decisions that affect our daily lives. Judicial elections matter because judges are tasked with protecting our human rights. For more information on the legal process and importance of judicial elections, speak with an attorney at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.