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JUDGE RETENTION: Iowans Have Option to Keep or Toss Judges

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Some states elect their judges, and others (like Iowa) have what is called a "retention election."  That is, Iowans vote on whether to keep or "fire" judges from their courthouses.  This year you will have the chance to vote for or against keeping the judges in your area.  

Iowa voters can find information about the professional qualifications and background of every judge on the ballot easily.

  • The 2016 Iowa Voters Judicial Directory contains biographies of each of the judges on the ballot, including their background and education, career, and professional and community activities. The directory also contains information about Iowa’s judicial retention elections, as well as factors voters may want to consider when deciding whether to retain a justice or judge.

  • On September 12, the Iowa State Bar Association released the results of a performance evaluation by Iowa lawyers, providing Iowa voters with additional information about judges on the ballot. The evaluation asks members of the association to rate judges on a number of issues, including knowledge and application of the law, temperament, communication skills, timeliness of rulings, and impartiality. The performance evaluation also asks lawyers to state whether each judge should be retained. You can find that evaluation here.