If you’re a resident of Cuyahoga County in Ohio and have been confused (as I have) your whole life about which judges to vote for in elections, then Judge4Yourself.com may be an answer to your prayers. (Do other people pray for help fulfilling their civic duties or is it more their financial obligations these days?)
I have to confess: I really enjoy voting. I love watching candidates debate and researching issues about how my local and state tax dollars will be spent. Because I understand those election processes, I also pay attention to what these folks do–my city councilperson, my state and federal representatives (especially Governors and Presidents), and have some understanding where my money goes when it’s used by the libraries, police or fire departments, public schools, department of transportation, and health and human services. I actually consider myself a minor political junkie, especially on local issues, and can be very opinionated about what I want to see on the local and state levels of elected government.
Except judges. I know plenty of lawyers and understand their work, mostly dealing with contracts and hashing through the language of laws (which looks like a headache to me). But judges?! The elected officials who hand down opinions on how to apply those laws? Having only been to court once in my life before, and even then only remembering the stressful experience in the waiting room, I have no real clue about what judges are supposed to do and what qualifies someone to be a judge other than passing the bar exam as a lawyer. Even if all this website provided was some guidance on how to tell a good judge from a bad one, I would be thrilled! I’ve said to many people in my life that I have no idea how to vote for a judge and I never recall anyone giving me any advice on the topic. I have a feeling I’m not alone on this one.
So at least for Cuyahoga County residents, we’ve really lucked out with this gem of a website. And as always one of my main concerns is: who is paying for this? Turns out to be the four Bar Associations who do the rating, plus contributions of cash and volunteer time. Quite frankly, I need this service so much, I might even be willing to donate!