(WKBN) — This year’s ballot for judge races will look different than years past. The Nov. 8 ballots will designate a political party for judge races.
First News spoke with all the candidates for Ohio’s Supreme Court justice races and asked every one of them how they feel about making non-primary races partisan.
For the Supreme Court Chief Justice race, Republican Justice Sharon Kennedy faces Democrat Justice Jennifer Brunner.
“I really do not want judges to politicized more than they already are within the political realm or in the realm of the media. I don’t make a decision based on who endorses me as a party affiliation,” Justice Kennedy said.
“I think most people really when they see partisan affiliation on the ballot, for some people it will be helpful — but for a lot of people, we all know that politics does not belong in the courts. I would prefer no party affiliation,” Justice Brunner said.
For one justice race, incumbent Republican Justice Patrick Fischer faces Democrat 10th Ohio District Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison.
“I thought it was kind of weird to have a partisan primary and then a generalized, non-partisan general election. It was like you were hiding information from people,” Justice Fischer said.
“Some people won’t vote for judges when they don’t see party affiliation so it could be helpful in increasing the number of votes cast from that perspective, but I just really think that the judiciary needs to maintain its non-biased, independent discretion,” Judge Jamison said.
For the last justice race, incumbent Republican Justice Patrick DeWine faces Democrat First Ohio District Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas.
“It will be on — actually by our names, on the ballot just like every other race. I think that’s a good thing. I think if you’re going to have judges who are elected in partisan primaries, you ought to be honest with the voters about it,” Justice DeWine said.
“If it were up to me, judges would run with no political endorsement and then, of course, no political affiliation, because judges are not here to serve any politics. They’re here to serve people,” said Judge Zayas.