David Bookstaver, Director
Mai Yee, Assistant Director
Date: Oct. 25, 2005
|New York Court System Publishes Voter Guide to Judicial Candidates for First Time: With Greater Access to Information, Voters Can Make More Meaningful Ballot Choices in Statewide Judges Races|
NEW YORK - With the 2005 general election, the New York State Unified Court System will begin publishing an online voter guide for the public with nonpartisan information about candidates for judicial office. Increasing access to information about judicial candidates was one of the key recommendations of the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections, empaneled by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and chaired by John D. Feerick, former Dean of Fordham Law School and Chair of the New York State Commission on Government Integrity.
According to a poll conducted on behalf of the Commission last year by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, most of those surveyed cited the primary reason for not voting in a judicial election as a lack of information about the candidates. In response, the Commission recommended the creation of a voter guide by the Judiciary that would provide information about candidates in judicial races. Starting October 25, the court system will begin publishing a voter guide to judicial candidates, containing biographical information such as current occupation, educational and professional history, any community or volunteer service, and an unedited personal statement. The guide will be accessible through the court system’s website at www.nycourts.gov/vote and soon will also be available in Spanish. It will initially cover races for State Supreme Court but will be expanded in the future to include all state court races.
“For citizens to be engaged and interested in judicial elections, they must be able to learn about the qualifications of any given candidate and be knowledgeable about their ballot choices,” said Chief Judge Kaye. “We are pleased to provide the citizens’ voter guide to help New Yorkers become better informed about the candidates and encourage increased participation in the judicial electoral process. The new guide promises to be an important tool in fostering vital and meaningful judicial elections in our state.”
John Feerick added, “It is gratifying to see the court system implementing this significant measure to help New Yorkers become more informed about candidates running for judicial office. I hope that the voter guide will stimulate greater interest in judicial elections and encourage more citizens to be involved in this important area of the democratic process.”