Judicial race candidates struggle to catch voters attention
NORWOOD, Ohio (WKRC) - While most attention focuses on statewide races or tight congressional campaigns, there are other people on the ballot who are trying as hard as they can to get your attention.
Hamilton County voters have two state supreme court races on the ballot, four races for Court of Appeals and three races for Common Pleas Court. Other counties have local judicial races as well.
Judges are what's known as down-ballot races -- as in down the ballot and down when it comes to the public attention. Name recognition is critical.
Judge Marilyn Zayas from the Court of Appeals said, "I know people vote on name, but I hope people vote on what the person accomplished."
In non-judicial races, voters often decide based on party, but that's a bit harder in a race for judge.
"Ohio judicial races are non-partisan. You won't see any party label on the ballot. I guess that was a good government idea once upon a time, but the reality is each party nominates judicial candidates, so those sample ballots that are handed to you can really be important," said Zayas.
In 2018 with both parties pumping in lots of money, there are more people to hand out more sample ballots.
"So even though the races themselves are non-partisan, people are going to know going in that the Democrats want me to select this candidate or the Republicans want me to select that candidate. So I think that people will be a little more informed than usual, even though the ballot doesn't give us much help," Professor Mack Mariani from Xavier University said.
Sample ballots and name recognition are key, but in recent years, it's become easier to find out about who is running for judge.
One early voter, Collin Nourie, said, "This year, I did a little research. In the past, I felt I didn't know enough about the judges to confidently vote for them."