In Florida, Judicial Races Merit A Voter Guide

May 31, 2016

The Florida Bar has just released the 2016 judicial voter guide, all in an effort to familiarize voters with candidates who wear robes.

The Florida Bar just released its 2016 judicial voter guide in hopes of helping voters understand the merit retention system for Supreme Court justices and appellate judges and the strict rules limiting campaigns for trial courts.

Voters aren’t likely to know the names of the three Supreme Court justices and 28 appellate judges who will appear on November ballots, and they also might not know what a “yes” or “no” vote means.

Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco says the voter guides she helped craft explain that justices and appellate judges are appointed to six-year terms, after which, they face an up-or-down vote to remain on the bench.

“The real purpose behind the voter information guide is to explain to the citizens what’s going on. Why the judges are on the ballot and to explain the difference between appellate judges and trial court judges.”

The guides don’t recommend which way to vote. An online version includes links to extended biographies and opinions. No Florida justice or appellate judge has ever lost a merit retention vote.