How many elections are uncontested? Why do some donate in uncontested elections?

-> Possible loophole in the system What contribution-related problems would public financing solve? -> reduce undue influence, level playing ground Appointment system reduces accountability. Yet appointed judges are more independent and are likelier to promote minority interests that may conflict with majority preferences [p.35] Electing judges results in more discrimination cases being heard [p.35] Study suggests that judicial quality is the lowest in states with partisan elections [p.35]

The Rule of Law Notes: Lack of coverage in judicial elections is problematic. Greater levels of information lead to higher voter turnout. There is little empirical research that exists on judicial elections; Philip Dubois published From Ballot to Bench: Judicial Elections and the Quest for Accountability in 1980 and found that judicial elections increase accountability and allows judges to be more receptive to the public.

Judicial election systems are important because they change who is serving on the bench and the incentives that they face. Different individuals lead to different outcomes and behavior is influenced by the necessity to be re-elected or reappointed. Ten states currently select trial and appellate court judges through partisan elections and eight use partisan election systems to choose state Supreme Court justices1. However, Washington, along with XXX other states choose all levels of judges based on a nonpartisan election system. Proponents of nonpartisan elections argue that it promotes impartiality. Opponents argue that it does not allow the public to get a clear sense of who they are electing to the bench. Furthermore, competitiveness is increased in nonpartisan elections because when you remove one variable, it makes others more important.

1

The Rule of Law pp.54

A survey by Justice at Stake2 suggests that the majority of the public believes that campaign contributions can buy access to lawmakers and influence decisions. As legislators consider how to change Washington’s selection of justices, some discussion by XXX and XXX are focused on the possibility of public financing for judicial campaigns. Public financing of campaigns are aimed at limiting the amount of influence of donors by allowing public funds to be used once specific requirements are met. Basically, candidates must raise a certain number of small donations from a minimum number of registered voters in order to qualify for partial or full public funding. Candidates are free to reject public financing. These funds usually come from state appropriations, bar fees, and voluntary income tax allocations3. Results of states that operate under a public financing system have been mixed and it has been found that the amount of financing available to candidates who qualify is an important factor to the success of the program4.

2

ROL fn 25 ROL fn 31 ROL fn 34

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