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Swearingen Leads Effort on Judicial Candidate Transparency for Voters

The legislation was signed into law by the governor
July 1, 2021
D. J. Swearingen News

State Rep. D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) announces the governor has signed Senate Bill 80, which is the companion bill to the representative’s legislation under House Bill 149. The bill adds a judicial candidate’s party affiliation on a general election ballot, specifically, to judicial candidates for Ohio Court of Appeals districts and the Ohio Supreme Court. Swearingen attended the bill signing ceremony earlier today.

“We’ve seen time and time again that Ohio voters under-vote on judicial candidates as they are often unaware of the judicial philosophies of the given candidates,” said Swearingen. “With party affiliations already listed for primaries, this bill follows that precedent and continues that implementation of transparency for the general elections here in our state.”

Swearingen notes that according to an Ohio judicial elections survey, one-half of respondents said they vote less frequently for judges compared to other offices with a high indication that a party affiliation would be helpful for this voting process. Currently, the law already requires judges to run in partisan primaries and they receive endorsements from political parties.

“The judicial candidates go through a partisan primary to get to the general election as they already receive party funding, grassroots support, they put the party information on yard signs, social media, and they even tell voters at the door which party they affiliate with if asked by the voter, as we heard in committee. With all of these actions taking place, we just want to ensure that members are informed when they head to the ballot box for judicial candidates,” Swearingen added.

Senate Bill 80 was recently passed in the House at the end of June and, after being signed into law by the governor today, will take effect in 90 days.