COLUMBUS – State Representatives Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) yesterday introduced legislation that would add a judicial candidate’s party affiliation on a general election ballot.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 149, would specifically apply to judicial candidates for Ohio Court of Appeals districts and the Ohio Supreme Court.
“Our Ohio Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges already run in partisan primaries as ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans’,” said Stewart. “Only on the general election ballot does Ohio pretend these things aren’t happening by omitting their party affiliation and it’s denying voters information about the candidates that they continually tell us they want. House Bill 149 will finally change that by adding party affiliation to the general election ballot for Ohio Supreme Court and appellate judges.”
House Bill 149 has 12 co-sponsors and companion legislation being considered in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 80, sponsored by State Senators Teresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland).
Swearingen concluded, “According to an Ohio judicial elections survey, one-half of respondents said they vote less frequently for judges compared to other offices with a high indication that a party affiliation would be helpful for this voting process. The law already requires judges to run in partisan primaries and they receive endorsements from political parties. I believe it’s time we move forward to assist Ohioans by informing them of the candidate they may be voting for in future general elections.”
The bill now awaits its assignment to a standing House committee.