Friday, August 22, 2008

Less Information = More Justice?

By Chris McClure
Executive Director, North Carolina Republican Party

A new poll from Civitas confirms the arguments that Republicans have made all along against removing party identification in judicial races from the ballot. Depriving voters of important information like party affiliation serves no purpose other than to try to tip the scales in the favor of one party or the other. In this case, because Democrats know that Republicans enjoy an advantage with voters when it comes to crime and justice, the Democrat leadership in the state thought that if you can't win the way elections are currently done then just change the rules.

Democrats argued at the time that it was a way to remove the politics from judicial elections. That is nonsense. The only way to remove the politics from elections is to not have elections at all. Make no mistake. Democrats would have their leadership appoint all the judges in the state if they thought voters would accept such a change, but voters have a funny way of wanting to have as many choices as possible. They are unlikely to support removing races from the ballot.

Voters also never would have supported removing important information from the ballot when making their choice of who would sit on the state's highest courts. Instead of giving voters such a choice, the Democrat leadership in Raleigh made that choice for them.

When fewer than half of voters have the information necessary about a race to make an informed choice, there is a problem with the system. In all likelihood, hundreds of thousands of voters will refuse to cast a vote for these important judicial offices this year. With this politically rigged process for electing judges, we delegitimize their elections in North Carolina, we tamper with democracy in general, and we cast a shadow of doubt on the justice system as a whole.

We deserve better.

Please learn about our Republican judges by visiting our website here.

Voters discouraged from voting in judicial races

Civitas staff
August 21, 2008

Raleigh, N.C. – Judicial elections held this fall in North Carolina will be hampered by a lack of information on the candidates for judicial office. Information in the form of party affiliation is sometimes the only information available to voters in an election. North Carolina has removed that information by making judicial races “non-partisan.”

Recent polling and election analysis conducted by the Civitas Institute shows the impact party identification has on the likelihood of voters to cast a ballot in statewide judicial elections, and their ability to make an informed decision, in a given election.

Civitas polled the only 2008 race for the North Carolina Supreme Court in July and August. In July when assigning respective party identification to the two candidates, Republican Robert Edmunds and Democrat Suzanne Reynolds, 31% of respondents were not sure of their choice. When the same question was asked in August with no party identification, fully 74% of respondents said they were not sure. When deprived of party identification, three out of four voters were unable to make a selection.

Senate Bill 1054 passed in 2002, made appellate judicial elections non-partisan removing party affiliation from ballots. “This change is a significant reason that a large number of voters are no longer voting in these important judicial elections,” according to Francis De Luca, the Executive Director of the Civitas Institute.

“If the intention of judicial election and campaign finance reform was to reduce the number of people who are voting on judges in North Carolina, then it has worked,” said De Luca. …