SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Robert Stewart, with the Woodbury County Bar Association, says the judicial ballot has been in place for more than 50 years in Iowa.
“The governor appoints a judge through working with a nominating committee, and voters vote yes or no–and [for] trial court judges, every six years,” Stewart said.
However, many Woodbury County voters who came to the Long Lines Rec Center to cast their ballots Thursday say they didn’t know all fourteen judges on the ballot.
Many had no idea who any of the judges were–and they’re not alone.
Stewart says many voters tend to overlook the judicial ballot because most Iowa judges don’t campaign at all.
“You’re not going to see yard signs for judges–they don’t run TV ads,” Stewart said.
Stewart also says voters overlook the judicial ballot because they don’t interact with judges on a daily basis.
“A lot of people, you know, go decades without having any business before a judge,” Stewart said.
However, Stewart says the current system hasn’t changed because most Iowan’s don’t want it to change.
“They don’t want to have a system in which a judge might hear a case where one of the parties has contributed to his or her campaign,” Stewart said.
Stewart recommends voters talk to lawyers they know about judges to make a more informed decision at the voting booth.
“They can give good insights into a judge’s temperament, their abilities, their impartiality,” Stewart said.