The Importance of State Judicial Elections: Why You Should Be Involved

The Importance of State Judicial Elections:

Why You Should Be Involved

Walking into your polling place, you probably feel confident about the candidates you’ll vote for in state, regional and local elections. Then you get towards the end and things get confusing. It’s the judicial portion of the ballot, with a long list of names you don’t recognize. For some judicial elections there are two or more candidates, sometimes only one. You realize that you most likely never saw commercials for these people or read their names in the newspaper.

What do you do?

It’s tempting to skip voting for local judges if you don’t understand the process & don’t recognize the candidates, but judicial elections have far-reaching effects.

Judges May Be Unseen, but They Are Far From Unimportant

If you haven’t seen the inside of a courtroom recently, you are very fortunate. However, thousands of citizens appear daily in front of robed men and women who adjudicate their criminal charges, child related disputes, domestic abuse claims and so much more.

While some people never find themselves facing a judge, there is a good chance they have a family member or friend who has been involved in a legal case.

Participating in judicial elections gives you the power to vote for people you believe to be qualified, committed and conscientious. Judicial elections are no less important, emotional or personal than senate or municipal elections. The work of judges cuts to the very core of humanity; don’t ignore its significance.

How Your Vote Now Affects the Future of Illinois

There are two types of judges in trial courts in Illinois; namely, circuit judges and associate judges.

Elected judges are known as circuit judges who you vote for, and then, there are appointed judges known as associate judges, who are appointed by the circuit judges. This is important because you don’t get to vote directly for the associate judges. A reason to knowingly participate in the judicial election process is due to the fact that the associate judges are “appointed’ by a vote of the circuit judges within the same community.

Further, once elected, the circuit judges serve six year terms and then they are subject to an uncontested, non-partisan retention election to continue serving.

Choosing the Judges You Want

  • The Illinois Bar Association and a number of other professional legal organizations rate local judges based on several criteria.
  • Before you vote, review the recommendations of these organizations and see if you agree with their assessment.
  • The recommendations are simple and straightforward. In Cook County, check out This alliance of bar associations comes together to rate judges up for election and offer a collective recommendations document. The alliance includes 11 bar associations including those representing various regional, racial and cultural groups.
  • The Illinois State Bar Association offers recommendations for every county in each election cycle.
  • Watch the Judicial Panels produced by Southland TV for judicial candidates in Will and DuPage Counties for those candidates that elected to participate. All candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

This article was submitted by Sterk Family Law.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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