Chief Justice Talks Changing Judiciary Elections

by Mackenzie Stasko on September 17, 2013 at 7:32 am

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is traveling across Ohio to promote new proposals and on Tuesday, she stopped by Bryan’s Place in downtown Zanesville to discuss her 8-point-plan that focuses on improving how Ohioans elect their judges.

"We have elections from the judges; anywhere from municipal court up to the Ohio Supreme Court. All judges are elected and we’re elected to six year terms. And Ohioians want to elect their judges, they’ve said that over and over, time and time again," said O’Connor. "So my proposal is how can we improve our elected system for the judiciary?’"

O’Connor said moving the judicial elections from an even year to an odd year would help improve the problem of judicial elections being overshadowed by the presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial elections. She said if they were held on an odd year, voters would be more informed about who they are voting for. O’ Connor also said having a central repository of information would also be helpful for citizens who want to learn more about Ohio’s judges.

"It would be a starting point for people to do research. That’s one of the problems. People say, ‘I don’t know anything about judges, I don’t know anything about the candidates, so I’m not gonna vote.’ In fact, on average, twenty-five percent of the people that go to the polls, do not vote for judges. They’ll vote for the top of the ticket so-to-speak, but they don’t finish and vote for judges because they say they don’t know enough."

Other proposals brought up were expanding the 6-year term for judges and increasing the number of years it takes for an attorney to become a judge. You can learn more about O’Connor’s proposals at