by Mary Hopper
First thank you for taking the time to be educated on the judge races. As you may have noticed, roughly a half of the races on the ballot are for judgeships While the Charlotte Women’s Movement does not endorse, we will attempt to give you some resources so you can make educated selections.
In addition to linking you to a valuable resource on the subject (see below), here are a few tools you could use to learn about the candidates running for the bench.
Tips for Researching Judge Candidates
→ Confer with your lawyer friends. Bar Association members stay informed. One friend who volunteers for the Council on Children’s Rights asks opinions of that staff since they are often in the local courts.
→ The North Carolina Bar has worked with WUNC-TV to run interviews for the state-wide races for the North Carolina Supreme and Appellate court seats. You can view these interviews on line at this ncbar.org link
→ Those same interviews are being broadcast beginning in early October. This news release has the schedule
→ If you identify as strongly partisan, you may choose to vote the party of your preference. These races used to be non-partisan but now list party affiliation.
→ You’ll notice that there are a number of local judges running unopposed. You could choose to focus your study on opposed races, thus reducing your study time.
→ Some choose to wait for the The Charlotte Observer. Since in the past The Observer has run its endorsements close to the election and you might be voting early, that might be less of an option for you this year.
→ The resource below indicates which judges are incumbent. If incumbency matters to you, pay attention to that designation.
We are pleased to note that there are a good number of women running. As you may have heard during accolades to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, over half of law school students are now women.
Below, as promised, is a link to an excellent article by the Charlotte Agenda. Its author, Paige Hopkins, explains the importance of these races to your life, gives an outline of what each court does and includes a brief synopsis on the background of the candidates. Hats off to the Agenda for putting this together.
A few general observations: the last time you voted on judge races, you voted in a district. Luckily the state legislature changed that law; now you vote for all locally-based judges.
If party registration matters to you, you should note that the listing order switches back and forth between Republican and Democrat candidates. NC no longer allows voters to pull what was termed “the straight party lever “ – you must vote on each race separately.