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RESULTS OF THE LORAIN COUNTY BAR
ASSOCIATION’S JUDICIAL BAR POLL

   The Lorain County Bar Association has polled its membership to evaluate the candidates who are on the ballot for the judicial positions in the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ninth District Court of Appeals, the General Division of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, and the Lorain County Domestic Relations Court.  At least 20% of the Association membership must evaluate a candidate in order for his/her scores to be tabulated and reported.  Not all of the candidates received enough evaluations to be scored. 

    Candidates are scored in five different areas (integrity/character, commitment/efficiency, judicial temperament, independence, and legal capacity), on a scale of 1 to 5 (one being unacceptable, and five being excellent).  The results for each area are first tabulated, and then an average score is computed and provides the results.  A candidate with an overall score above 4.25 will be HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, an overall score from 3.0 to 4.25 will be RECOMMENDED, and an overall score below 3.0 will be NOT RECOMMENDED. Bar Association members are instructed to only evaluate a candidate if they have sufficient personal knowledge of his or her qualifications.

    Note that the Bar Association’s survey and report of results DOES NOT constitute an “endorsement” of any single candidate.

    For additional information, you may contact the Lorain County Bar Association (440-323-8416; www.loraincountybar.org; lcba@windstream.net).


LORAIN COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT, GENERAL DIVISION

Full term    MARK BETLESKI                                      HIGHLY RECOMMENDED   
commencing
1-3-17

Full term      CHRISTOPHER ROTHGERY                      HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
commencing
1-1-17        JAMES BURGE                                      NOT RECOMMENDED

Unexpired    CHRIS COOK                                        HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
term ends
1-4-19        MICHELE SILVA ARREDONDO                   RECOMMENDED

                 WILHELM SPEIGELBERG                          UNABLE TO SCORE


LORAIN COUNTY DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT

Full term      SHERRY GLASS                                   RECOMMENDED
commencing
1-2-17        BENJAMIN DAVEY                                RECOMMENDED

                 DAVID GRAVES                                   UNABLE TO SCORE

                 JENIFER BERKI                                    NOT RECOMMENDED

                 KRISTA MARINARO                              UNABLE TO SCORE


OHIO SUPREME COURT

Full term        MAUREEN O’CONNOR                                  RECOMMENDED
commencing
1-1-17

Full term        COLLEEN O’TOOLE                                      UNABLE TO SCORE
commencing
1-2-17           PAT FISHER                                                 UNABLE TO SCORE


Full term        JOHN O’DONNELL                                        UNABLE TO SCORE
commencing
1-1-17           CYNTHIA RICE                                             UNABLE TO SCORE

                      PAT DEWINE                                              UNABLE TO SCORE


OHIO COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

Full term        DONNA CARR                                             UNABLE TO SCORE
commencing 2-10-17

Full term        LYNNE CALLAHAN                                     UNABLE TO SCORE
commencing 2-11-17   

Full term        DIANA STEVENSON                                   UNABLE TO SCORE
Commencing 2-9-17
                     THOMAS TEODOSIO                                  UNABLE TO SCORE


New Website Features Information
About Judicial Races for Voters Statewide

The first statewide judicial voter education website – JudicialVotesCount.org – launched today to provide Ohioans with information about all of the 2015 judicial races.

The judicial voter website is one part of Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor’s three-point plan to reform judicial elections in Ohio. The other aspects include moving all judicial races to odd-numbered years and to the top of the ballot and increasing the qualifications to serve as judge.

Chief Justice O’Connor has partnered with several organizations to better educate Ohioans about judges in an effort to increase meaningful voter participation. The project’s partners are: the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, which houses the website; the Ohio State Bar Association; the League of Women Voters of Ohio; the Ohio Newspaper Association; and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.

In addition to candidate profiles, the website features information about what judges do, descriptions about the duties of different courts, and brief videos of former judges explaining how the court system works.

With 2015 being an odd-numbered year, municipal court judges are up for election on Nov. 3 in Ohio. Next year, JudicialVotesCount.org will include information on candidates for the Supreme Court, appeals courts, common pleas courts, and county courts, as judges for those courts are elected in even-numbered years.

The impetus for creating the website came from a survey of 1,067 registered Ohio voters who said the biggest reason they don’t vote for judges is because they don’t know enough about the candidates. The survey, which was conducted in October 2014 by the Bliss Institute, focused on the drop-off in votes cast in judicial races.

In speaking out on the issue over the last three years, Chief Justice O’Connor has expressed concern that in some elections more than a quarter of the electorate skips voting for judges who are, by law, listed near the bottom of the ballot. About half of the 2014 survey respondents admitted they seldom vote in judicial elections.

“We can’t expect voters to be knowledgeable about judicial candidates if we make it difficult for them to find information,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “This website provides – for the first time – a comprehensive resource to ensure voters make informed decisions based on substantive information.”

“The key to keeping Ohio’s judiciary strong is encouraging everyone to learn about judicial candidates so they can make informed decisions when they cast their ballots. The Ohio State Bar Association is proud to be a partner in the Judicial Votes Count effort to bring that all-important information to Ohioans,” Ohio State Bar Association President John D. Holschuh Jr. said.

“The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 to provide voters with the tools they need to participate in elections, such as nonpartisan voter guides” said Carrie Davis, executive director of LWV Ohio. “Judicial Votes Count is an outstanding new tool to empower Ohioans to cast an informed vote.”

“The effective democracy requires voting, and effective voting requires good information,” said John C. Green, director of the Bliss Institute and a distinguished professor in political science. “The Bliss Institute is pleased to support Judicial Votes Count to give Ohioans access to the information they need to vote – and vote effectively – in judicial elections.” 

“Judges affect everyone with their rulings, often profoundly,” said Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association. “Unfortunately, too many voters take these offices for granted, or helpful information about candidates isn’t readily available. This website helps to change that situation and should be a great resource for Ohio citizens.”

“The OAB appreciates Chief Justice O’Connor’s leadership on this important initiative,” said Christine Merritt, president of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. “We hope that Ohio voters will use the resources available on the JudicialVotesCount.org site to become better informed about the offices and candidates on the ballot for election.”





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