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Ohio’s Chief Justice Wants to Change the Way Ohioans Elect Judges

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The Chief Justice of Ohio’s Supreme Court wants to change the way Ohioans elect judges. Jo Ingles, with Ohio Public Radio has more.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Justice Maureen O’Connor is proposing an amendment to Ohio’s constitution that would move judicial races to odd-number year elections when candidates for president, Congress, governor and other high profile races are not on the ballot.

"The partisan office holders shout their messages and judges are relegated to the very limited ability of whispering their messages," O'Connor said. "We can’t compete. The public doesn’t vote according to the importance of judicial elections. In years in which judges are on the ballot, the average dropoff is at least 25 percent, sometimes a high of 40 percent of the voters that go to the polls do not elect a judge because they don’t even pay attention to that part of the ballot."

O’Connor’s plan also calls for increasing the basic qualifications for people who want to be elected as a judge. She plans to talk to the Ohio legislature about her plan in the coming weeks and hopes to have the amendment to change the process on the Ohio ballot next year.

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