While voters in all Ohio counties will consider candidates for the Supreme Court seats and at least one appellate seat per county, only 61 of the state’s 88 counties have judicial elections at the common pleas or county court levels in 2018.
Judges in Ohio serve six-year terms. Terms are staggered so that Supreme Court, district appellate court, common pleas, and county court elections are conducted in even-numbered years, such as this year. Municipal court judgeships are up for election in odd-numbered years.
“It’s important for voters to vote their entire ballot,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who is in her last term on the Ohio Supreme Court and is not a candidate in this year’s election. “Judicial races are listed toward the end of Ohio’s ballot and research shows that too many voters fail to complete their ballots, thus missing the judicial races entirely.
“Judges are the foundation of justice in every Ohio county, and it’s vital for Ohio voters to learn about candidates’ qualifications and then vote their full ballots,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.
Ohio voters can use Judicial Votes Count, the state’s only nonpartisan, statewide judicial election resource, to learn more about judge candidates before casting their ballots in the Nov. 6 election.
Judicial Votes Count – at JudicialVotesCount.org – presents profiles of judicial candidates, including their judicial experience and why they are running for judge. Other resources on the website include videos about the different types of courts in Ohio and an explanation of why judges play an important role in their communities.
Judicial Votes Count is a nonpartisan partnership launched in 2015, to better educate Ohioans about judges and the Ohio court system.
Partners in the Judicial Votes Count project are Chief Justice O’Connor, the Ray C. Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio News Media Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.
The website was created after a 2014 survey by Bliss Institute found that most of the registered Ohio voters polled said they don’t vote for judges because they don’t know enough about the candidates.