Thirty years of judicial retention elections: an update
ABSTRACT This article updates prior reports on the empirical patterns and trends in judicial retention elections. The 3,912 elections encompass both major trial court and appellate court elections in ten states for the period from 1964 through 1994. Reported trends include declines in the affirmative vote, rolloff, and voter differentiation among individual judges. Detailed analysis of defeated judges indicates that regular retention voters quickly remove judges from the bench without any negative consequences for other judges on the ballot.
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ABSTRACT: Electoral competition has been an important subject of political science research over the past several decades. This article examines the effects of campaign spending on electoral competition in state supreme court elections. Specifically, I address the question: How do campaign expenditures affect the performance of incumbents in supreme court elections? I find that just like elections to Congress and state legislatures, electoral competition in state supreme court elections can be understood by looking at characteristics of the candidates, the state and electoral context, and institutional arrangements.Political Research Quarterly 09/2007; · 0.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In this paper, we answer two important questions about the role of challengers in elections to the states' highest courts: (1) under what conditions do incumbents draw challengers, and (2) do these same conditions influence whether the challengers entering these races have sufficient experience to pose a threat to the officeholders (i.e., are they quality challengers). While the factors related to each electoral contest and the forces characterizing the overall political climate of the state should affect the type of challenge, if any, we also expect institutions to matter. Specifically, factors governing the attractiveness of supreme court seats, as well as the formal means by which judicial elections are organized, all should serve to enhance or inhibit competition. In an analysis of all 146 partisan and nonpartisan elections to state supreme courts from 1988 through 1995, we find that competition from both inexperienced and experienced challengers is predictable from some basic information about the incumbents, the states, and the institutional context. Like legislators, judges can influence their chances of being challenged only to a limited degree. However, the states can increase or decrease competition to some extent by manipulating electoral system characteristics and a variety of factors that make supreme court seats more or less valuable. In fact, under certain scenarios, state supreme courts may be more democratic in character and function than is generally recognized or perhaps preferred.Political Research Quarterly 09/2007; · 0.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Most of the studies of voter behavior have dealt with voter turnout, but few have looked at other aspects of voting behavior that could be linked to balloting method. A reasonable amount of information has now accumulated about the impact of the shift from polling place elections to voting by mail on turnout, rolloff, drop-off, differences in voting for partisan offices and referenda, and differences in straight-ticket voting. This article analyzes recent time series of voting data in Oregon to assess the impact of the shift in voting method on these issues. The analysis includes data at the state, county, precinct, and individual levels, including individual ballots. The results suggest new criteria for evaluating shifts from one voting method to another that may be applied to other electoral reforms, such as those that will result from the Help America Vote Act.American Politics Research 01/2004; 32(4):375-405. · 0.71 Impact Factor