The legislative Republican leadership say a move to put partisan identification back in judicial elections could pass this session.
Democratic lawmakers had removed party affiliation from judicial races ions several years ago, when voters were trending toward voting for Republicans.
Senate leader Phil Berger said there seems to be broad support in the Senate caucus for passing the bill, and House Speaker Thom Tillis said he expects the measure to move in the House as well.
“There are number of folks who feel that with reference to the re-election of judges that the current system we have is probably the worst we could have,” Berger, an Eden attorney said at a news media briefing this morning.
But he said there was a reluctance to move to some form of appointive system, where voters get to decide whether to retain judges. He said voters are reluctant to give up their voting.
Berger said that since the partisan identification has dropped from the ballot, voter participation in judicial races has dropped. The only thing many voters now know about a judicial candidate is whether they are male or female, he said.
“The question is how to do you give the public information about people on the ballot in the most effective way?” Berger said. “There are people who think that providing the public information about party registration about candidates is useful.”
Although the party affiliation of the judges has not been on the ballot, both major parties have made major efforts to inform their members about which candidates were Republicans and which were Democrats.