Election Day 2022: Here's how to research Michigan judicial candidates

Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 07, 2022

(WXYZ) — They play a key role in criminal and civil courts, as high up as the State Supreme Court.

Ahead of Election Day, we’re looking at why voters choose certain candidates and the qualities they look for.

Voter Clarence Martin spent Friday shopping for groceries and considering what he values most.

“Someone who’s fair,” Martin told us. Yet, he admits doing research on each candidate is time consuming and he’s not always able to take the time.

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Clarence has also voted absentee.

Another voter, Brookie Johnson is also opening up. She says it’s important to look at how they made prior decisions in their careers and how honest they are.

“It’s one of the main things,” says Johnson.

Other voters tell us they mostly focus on the top races that include Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. They’ve also tried to avoid negative attack ads given the fact many are designed to diminish a candidate's reputation.

“There’s always a much higher percentage of people filling out the top over the judicial ballot,” says Diane Hartmus, a political science Professor at Oakland University.

She adds, “It can be extremely difficult to get info about judges that’s available. Ads are available but to really get depth, judges aren’t supposed to be political.”

Hartmus suggests checking which organizations have backed candidates, since they run as unaffiliated on the ballot.

“If you’re a Republican or Democrat, they will have endorsed judges. So do other interest groups or you can visit the candidate's own website,” says Hartmus.