In Colorado, our judges are appointed instead of elected in order to avoid political influence in our courts. Instead, we vote on whether state court judges should remain in their current position, or be removed and replaced. On your ballot, these questions ask “Should this judge be retained?” with options to say “yes” or “no.” If a majority of voters say “yes” the judge remains in their position. If a majority of voters say “no” the Governor appoints a new judge from a group of candidates selected by a nominating commission.
Colorado’s Judicial Performance Commission completes independent performance reviews of state court judges each year, and makes recommendations on whether a judge should be retained or not.
You can access these evaluations and the commission’s recommendations for the judges on your ballot here >>
The Judicial Performance Commission evaluates judges by observing them in the courtroom, reviewing written decisions, interviewing the judges themselves, and surveying lawyers and citizens. They review judges’ performance with regards to things like timeliness of decisions, and treatment of litigants based on things like race, sex, and more. They also consider experience in their recommendations, to ensure a healthy mix of judges with experience in areas like family law and criminal law.