Voting on Judges–Performance Evaluations
I have always questioned the value of judges being retained by voters who lack the necessary information to make an informed choice. Unless we know the judge personally, have been in their courtroom often enough to be familiar with their actions and rulings, or know someone we trust who has, it is impossible to know how to vote on any particular judge. Because of this, many of us don’t vote on the judges at all.
Approximately a quarter of all Utah judges will be on the ballot this November, and the fate of thousands of Utahans are decided by these judges every year. Having intelligent, fair, respectful, qualified judges is vitally important to our society and judicial system. Though not a perfect solution, the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) helps citizens cast informed votes by providing valid information about the judges appearing on their ballots. The Utah Legislature established JPEC to collect and disseminate independent information about the performance of judges so voters may make informed decisions about judicial retention elections. Evaluations for all judges standing for retention election this year are now available on their website at judges.utah.gov. Please look over this information and so that you can have a better idea about these judges and if they should be retained.
Transparency in Government Spending
If you are interested in how and where the state spends your taxes, try visiting spending.utah.gov. As it says on the website, “This site provides a guided view of State agency spending data and provides a transparent look at how we allocate and spend public funds. The charts, graphs, and tables…are all highly interactive and we invite you to explore.” Have fun!