The Party belongs to the People, not the Insiders!
Pennsylvanians elect their judges. Let’s keep it that way.
Every 2 years we have the predicted hand-wringing from certain quarters regarding the fact that voters are electing judges whom they don’t know.
Voters elect people they don’t know all the time. Why do you think judges would be any different?
The answer is not to take the power away from the people and place it into the hands of the political elite. The answer is to restore the proper function of the local political committees, which are grassroots organizations elected by local people.
It is important for voters to get to know their candidates in every election. What prevents them from doing so? People have busy lives and don’t carve out time to proactively investigate candidates.
In almost every county in Pa, there are 2 political committee people elected in every precinct. Their jobs are to communicate with the voters about upcoming elections, who is on the ballot, make recommendations regarding candidates, and update their neighbors on any other current local political/government issues.
It’s the job of the elected county leadership to make sure these committee people have the necessary tools to do this job effectively. Part of this job is bringing these candidates to town so that the committee people (and the public) can meet the candidates in person and get to know them.
There are other resources at the voters’ disposal. There are many statewide groups that rate the judicial candidates, such as the Pa Bar Association, Firearm Owners Against Crime, and the American Family Association, to name just a few. These organizations ask the candidates to fill out questionnaires and then publish the candidates’ answers for the public to see.
However, the most important resource can be the local committee person, who the voters elect to help them be informed at election time. These volunteers are a critical element in helping to build an informed public and making our democratic system work best.
The alternative is handing over our civic responsibilities to politicians, bureaucrats, the political insiders. That doesn’t sound like an option that will produce better election results.