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Bill would put judicial candidates’ party label on ballot

December 31, 2019 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill would allow judicial candidates in Ohio to determine whether to list their party affiliation on general election ballots.

The bipartisan-sponsored Ohio House bill that was introduced Friday would go into effect in 2021, Cleveland.com reported.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Hambley and Democratic Rep. Michael Skindell would not affect next year’s state Supreme Court races. If the bill passes, residents would see party affiliations for lower-level judicial races, such as municipal court judge.

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“Very clearly we have partisan involvement in all elections,” Hambley said. “Judicial candidates can advertise on their literature, they can identify with the party. But they’re just not allowed on the ballot.”

The practice of leaving party affiliation off the general ballot is over 160 years old and before that the Ohio General Assembly appointed judges.

Some voters said they vote less frequently for judicial candidates than other offices on their ballots, because of lack of information about the candidate, according to a 2014 Ohio Judicial Elections Survey.

More than half of respondents of the survey stated a party label would be “very” or “somewhat” helpful in judicial elections.