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OhioChief Justice Maureen O’Connor’s three-point plan to strengthen judicial elections in Ohio includes:

    • Elevating judicial elections by moving them to odd-numbered years and to the top of the ballot.
  • Educating voters about judicial elections and encouraging them to participate.
  • Increasing the basic qualifications to serve as a judge.

Ohio enjoys one of the best systems of justice anywhere in the world. Extraordinarily talented and hard-working people make up the Ohio judiciary, and the work they do every day is remarkable.

But there are three problems with our system that need to be addressed:

1. Polls show that even though Ohioans want to continue to elect judges they believe that judges are influenced by politics, by contributions, and by other factors.

2. The numbers are clear that, on average, one quarter of the people who go to the polls on Election Day do not bother to vote for judges.

3. The level of knowledge and understanding about the judiciary among the general public is inadequate. Voters do not have easy access to quality information.

After decades of debate regarding possible changes to judicial elections in Ohio, now is the time to revisit this topic in Ohio once and for all.

In 2013, Chief Maureen Justice O’Connor issued a white paper that examined the history of judicial elections, reviewed past reform efforts, and proposed ideas for consideration that she suggested might improve the system.

After a year of traveling the state and discussing these ideas with interested parties, the Chief in May 2014 announced OhioJudicialReform.org: A Plan for Elevating Judicial Elections.

The Chief Justice’s plan starts by recognizing that Ohioans have made clear that they do not want to lose the right to vote on their judges then proposes three specific action steps to improve the system that we have.