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JPEC Website Helps Voters Learn About Judges On 2020 Ballot

FILE (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee is reminding voters to educate themselves and vote on the nearly 60 judges up for retention in the 2020 election.

“Voters play an important role in our state’s retention system for judges,” said Jennifer Yim, JPEC executive director. “Fortunately, in Utah, judges do not campaign for a seat on the bench. Instead, they only retain their position by a vote of the people.”

As many as 23% of Utah voters do not complete their ballot, according to a news release from the committee. Many of those who do complete the ballot are deciding on judges they do not know much about, the release said.

Local judges can have a major impact on an individual’s life.

“From the divorces, adoptions and child custody matters affecting Utah families to disputes over money, property and contested estates to civil rights and criminal cases, judges affect our lives in more ways than most think about,” Yim said. “That’s one reason to know your judges, to review evaluations and to vote with unbiased insight on judges.”

The JPEC website also includes recommendations on whether to retain the judges.

“Because this is a great opportunity to know the judges in your county — the very ones who can affect your lives — we are directing voters to for published evaluations on each judge,” Yim said.

The Utah legislature created JPEC in 2008. It is an independent state body that evaluates the performance of each judge. The 13 members are appointed by the three branches of the state legislature, according to the release.

Ballots for the election will be mailed out by county clerks beginning Tuesday. They must be returned by November 3.

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