Rice University’s Baker Institute released a research report examining the impact of straight-party voting on judicial elections in Texas, one of only two states that initially elects, and re-elects, its judiciary in partisan elections where voters have the option of making a single mark/action to vote for all candidates of a party (The other is Alabama.).
The consequence of this combination is “extremely limited variation in the share of the vote received by judicial candidates and a concomitant tendency for judicial sweeps whereby one party wins all of the judicial races within a jurisdiction,” said Mark Jones, the study’s author. From 2008 to 2016, more than 90% of all judges elected were part of a partisan sweep of judicial offices at the state, appellate district and county level, and the trend is toward a greater percentage of partisan sweeps. In 2016, partisan sweeps accounted for more than 95% of all judicial elections.
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