So, there was recently a judicial election in Tarrant County. But most of the voters probably had no idea. And even if they did, they wouldn’t get to cast a ballot.
Why is that, you might ask? Well, that’s because only Republican precinct chairs have any say regarding the candidates for two state district court seats.
Ironically, the event in which the chairs will choose someone to put on the ballot is open to the public, the public simply doesn’t get to vote on it. If you think that this system is highly susceptible to cronyism and potential corruption, you are probably right, but that’s just part of the quirks of the Texas judicial system.
Admittedly, even in situations where the public CAN vote on judges, the turnout and overall education level of the voters in regards to the candidates is poor at best. That said, I am not sure removing the public entirely from the equation is the best solution. Voters often underestimate the effect that judges have on the day to day life in society, at least until they are before one themselves. Texas is an extremely large state, with a large number of counties, many of which are rural, which is why some of the quirks of the judicial system are the way they are.
I am not sure that I have a better solution for this, but I think its important that everyone look into the judges in your area and how they are on the bench, be it from elections, appointments, etc.
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