Don't Forget to Vote for Judges!

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September 28, 2012

On November 6, voters across the nation will decide who will represent them at the national, state and local levels. In many states, voters will also be asked to weigh in on important issues—like in Washington, Maryland and Maine—where the freedom to marry will be on the ballot, and in Minnesota, where an antigay constitutional amendment will be before voters.

While it may get less attention, voting for judges also has an enormous impact on the law and our lives.

Read Lambda Legal's Judicial Election Guide 2012.

Recent surveys show that the selection of judges does not rank among the most important issues for the average voter, and just a small fraction of voters consider themselves to be very informed on judicial races.

We should all be deeply interested in the selection and election of judges. After all, it is the judge’s duty to safeguard everyone’s rights and liberties and it is the role of the courts to provide access to justice for all people.

Each year, Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project prepares a guide to help ensure that voters are well informed about the candidates for the highest court in states that hold judicial elections. Take a few minutes to review the list of judicial candidates running in this year’s election cycle and to follow the links to find additional resources that may help you learn more about them.

State court judges resolve cases involving everything from minor disputes to the biggest constitutional questions of our time. For the LGBT community, judges make decisions about fundamental issues that affect us all—our family life, access to health care, employment and housing protections, parenting rights—all of which can have long-lasting effects.

Lambda Legal works every day in state courts around the nation and has first-hand knowledge of just how important it is to have issues decided by fair and impartial judges who make decisions based on the law, facts and arguments presented in each case.

There are few things more important to protecting our civil rights than making sure we have fair courts, and if you are a voter in one of the 38 states where voters elect their high court judges or vote on their retention, you have a vital role to play.

Remember that fair courts matter all year, and voting directly for judges is just one way of maintaining an independent judiciary. After all, you may live in a state where judges are appointed by the legislature or the governor, and thus, never come up for public vote. This does not render you powerless. There are many ways to raise your voice in support of fair courts.

Visit Lambda Legal's Fair Courts Project to learn more about what you can do to protect your courts.

Thank you for helping us make the case for equality by contributing to our work. Get informed and vote!

Disclaimer: Lambda Legal is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. We do not support or oppose any candidates running for public office.