New poll shows Illinoisans favor non-partisan judicial elections

By Amelia Flood | May 21, 2009


A new poll released this week finds that Illinoisans largely favor non-partisan elections for judges, data that could help spur judicial election reforms across the state.

The We Ask America poll showed that, out of 3,423 participants, Illinois voters preferred the non-partisan system by a margin of nearly three and a half to one.

Voters who supported the system believed that a non-partisan system would produce better results than the current partisan election system that Illinois and many other states employ.

Eighty-eight percent of those polled said that education and experience were better qualifications for judicial candidates than political endorsements or backing.

Most of those polled opposed the current public funding of partisan judicial elections, a bone of contention for reform groups like the Illinois Civil Justice League (ICJL).

ICJL president Ed Murnane said that the poll, conducted between April 29 and 30, "confirms what we expected."

The ICJL has a proposal to create a non-partisan system along with other reforms before the legislature currently. Murnane and others interested in judicial reforms have previously testified before lawmakers on the subject.

"Illinoisans want to take the politics out of judicial elections," Murnane said in a statement about the poll.

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