The Ohio House voted along party lines to require Ohio Supreme Court and appeals courts candidates who run in partisan primaries to have their party affiliation listed on the general election ballot. But the bill would only affect those potential judges and not those at the county or municipal court levels.
Democrats maintain that party labels will increase partisanship, and that voters who want to know party affiliation of judicial candidates can easily find it. Rep. Stephanie Howse also noted Democrats have won three seats in the last two Ohio Supreme Court elections.
“So let’s just be real. Be a straight shooter. Y’all scared. It’s cool. Because Democrats are absolutely coming for the Ohio Supreme Court in ’22.”
But sponsoring Republican Brian Stewart said Ohio is only state that requires judges to run in partisan primaries and then in alleged non-partisan general elections, and that he’s been in favor of partisan labels in these judicial races for a long time.
“We believe this is the right policy. We can have differences of opinion on that. But I think questioning motives is way out of line.”
A similar bill has passed the Ohio Senate, and is also included in the budget still being worked out in a conference committee.