Every two years, certain judges are placed on the ballot for a simple yes/no retention vote. These elections stem from Oklahoma’s judicial selection method, and ask voters whether they want to keep, or retain, certain judges. Elections are staggered so judges only face retention every six years. However, not a single judge has been voted out in the fifty-plus years since retention elections were instituted.
I would wager that the majority of Oklahoma voters, including me, a relatively informed voter, know next to nothing about the judges that come up for retention votes. That is unsurprising, considering most people don’t have the time to research and evaluate the legal philosophy and judicial track record of every judge. Thus, a look at election results from the past few elections tell a simple story: a majority vote yes on all of the judges, a decent minority vote no on all of them, while only a small fraction do research and make informed votes. To be clear, I am not lambasting Oklahomans for being uninformed. Many people I know personally vote “No” on all retention elections no matter who it is. I used to vote “No” by default as well. The problem is, it doesn’t matter how informed you are. The judicial selection system we use is extremely flawed, thus rendering your vote meaningless.
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by Muskogee Politico - May 14, 2021 at 08:00PM
Columnist: Why I Refuse to Vote in Judicial Retention Elections
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