Voters to Decide on Election of Judges - 8 News NOW

Voters to Decide on Election of Judges

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LAS VEGAS -- The way district court judges and Nevada Supreme Court justices are put on the bench could soon change. That's one of only a few decisions voters will make this coming election in only weeks.

As it stands now, every one of those judges are voted on by the people and elected into the position. But some say the problem with that is voters are often uninformed about judicial races. Couple that with low voter turnout, and some think less qualified judges could be elected.

"The primary reason is just selecting judges by popular selection and by how many campaign posters you can put up and billboards? You don't ensure in any way that you are going to get good qualified fair judges. It's just who gets the most campaign posters up," said attorney Al Marquis.

If approved by the voters, the new method of selecting judges would be by appointment. First, a special panel made up of former judges, attorneys and others in the judicial system will recommend a certain number of candidates to the governor. Then the governor would appoint one of those candidates.

Supporters argue the current system is flawed and is only about who can raise the most money. However, opponents say it takes away a person's right to vote.

"I think it's not too good, being the fact that friends can obviously get friends in higher places. Decisions should be left to the people," said voter Ceasar Villa.

If voters pass this new method, after being appointed, the judge would still be up for a retention election after a year. Supporters say if in fact a judge is doing what they are supposed to do and get at least a 55-percent vote, they remain on the bench. If not, they are out.

Supporters say this proposed method is a chance to get better qualified judges in office.

Each judge is up for six year terms. After those six years, they are once again up for another retention election.

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