I am deeply offended by the following editorial statement that appeared in the Nov. 6 Our Opinion column: “Voters who can’t make informed choices ought to leave the decisions to others.” This statement concerned the election results in the judicial races.
I have been the mayor of a small town in North Carolina and a candidate for state Senate. I believe I’m qualified to claim that I am a concerned, committed and educated voter. To me, the single most frustrating thing about voting is the inability to find any real information about the judicial candidates. When I have expressed this frustration directly to judicial candidates and asked them why there is such a paucity of information about them generally available to voters, they have invariably said something like, “Each case is decided on its merits and, therefore, you can’t provide information on what judges have done on the bench because it is irrelevant and presumes upon future decisions.”
The editorial piece stated that one judicial winner was a lawyer who is barred from representing indigent clients in criminal cases. How were voters supposed to know that? In another case, reference was made to a man winning a judicial race who had never practiced law. Maybe judicial eligibility rules should be changed to include some actual experience.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so into the vacuum of judicial candidate information in this election came cards being handed out at my polling place by both Democratic and Republican party operatives that contained the list of judicial candidates being supported by that party. This puts the judicial races right where we don’t want them, in the partisan political arena.
Rather than chastising voters, who I believe are doing the best they can with the information currently available, I strongly encourage you to put the considerable weight of your opinion behind devising a way to present better information on judicial candidates to the voters.
The writer lives in Jamestown.