Presidential candidates and state legislators won’t be the only ones on the ballot when Iowans go to the polls in November. Judges are also on the ballot, and the Iowa Judicial system is trying to help voters be better informed as they vote on the members of the bench.
Court communications officer, Steve Davis, says they’ve created an on-line guide to help out. Davis says the guide explains the merit system used to select judges, and how the retention system works. He says it also includes biographies of each of the judges on the ballot. Davis says while legislative hopefuls and others actively campaign for office, judges don’t do it that way in Iowa.
Davis says the first part of the voter guide is dedicated to explaining the difference between the partisan voting process for judges, and the merit systems used in 32 states, including Iowa. Davis says the Governor names judges to the courts after a process that seeks to take out the politics.
He says judges are selected based on merit, and then three finalists are presented to the governor and the governor selects one to become a judge. Other states have lengthy partisan elections. Davis says the information from the Iowa State Bar Association judicial performance evaluations will also be put on the site in early October.
Davis says the Bar Association surveys all its members to evaluate judges on their knowledge and application of the law, and impartiality. He says it’s a great resource for finding out more before voting to retain a judge. To find the voter guide on judges, surf to the Iowa Judicial Branch website .
Four Iowa judges have been voted out of office. They are District Associate Judge David Halbach, Clinton; District Associate Judge Anthony Scolaro, Cedar Rapids; District Associate Judge Roger Halleck, Marshalltown; District Associate Judge Rodney Ryan, Des Moines.