You have probably made up your mind about who you are voting for in the Arizona Governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race, and other high-profile races, but what about all the other names on your ballot?
It can be daunting researching school board candidates, city council members, and deciding which judges to retain. The most common question I get is about how to vote on the judges up for retention.
At azaction.org, you will find tools to help navigate some of those races.
The candidate donation report shows you the donations made by school board and municipal candidates, and judges up for retention. This gives you a good idea of the candidates’ political leanings and judicial philosophies.
For example, if you search Scottsdale Unified School District under school board candidate donations, you will see an overview of how much money was donated by the candidates to other candidates or political parties. In the Scottsdale race, school board candidates gave more than $14,000 to Democrats, most of it coming from one candidate, Mary Gaudio. If you put her name in the search block, you will see she donated to Mark Kelly’s campaign, as well as other Democrats. Incidentally, Scottsdale school board candidates gave just over $1,400 to Republicans.
You can do the same search for judges and some municipal candidates.
For more on judges, go to azvoterguide.com and click on judicial retention candidates to see a judge’s bio, Judicial Performance Review Committee score, and how he or she ruled on certain cases. For example, under Arizona Supreme Court, if you click on Ann Timmer and scroll down the list of cases, you will see she voted against the free speech and religious freedom of the artist owners of Brush & Nib in 2019.
You also will see that the following judges responded to our surveys. We sent surveys to every judge on the retention ballot, however, only a few responded. Most of those who responded did so by providing a letter about their judicial philosophy.
For convenience, the following judges responded with a letter or survey answers, click here to read their responses:
Arizona Supreme Court: Justices Beene, Montgomery, Timmer
Maricopa County: Judges Herrod, Mata, Woo, Sukenic, Brooks,
No judges from other counties responded to the survey request.
CAP Action doesn’t endorse or oppose judges for a variety of reasons.
We don’t necessarily agree with the Judicial Performance Review Commission (JPRC.) The problem with the JPRC scores is that the scores are based on a small number of reviews by parties appearing before the judge. That means a party who lost a case before the judge might rate that judge low simply because they didn’t like the ruling. The JPRC scores don’t provide any useful information about the judge’s rulings or judicial philosophy. For example, a judge who has more no votes by the JPRC doesn’t mean you should vote no on the judge.
We also don’t agree with many of the “lists” being circulated by various groups or unnamed sources. If you see one of those lists, we recommend learning the basis on which the recommendations were made before you follow those recommendations.
And, yes, we share your frustration about voting for judges. You, the voter, want to cast a wise vote. It’s nearly impossible to get quality, objective information on judges. Several years ago, we proposed reforms of how judges are selected and retained; however, we lost the ballot referral to change the system.
If you then click on print CAP summary of props, you can access a printable document with brief descriptions, arguments for and against, and CAP Action’s recommendations. A shorter, easy to use graphic can be found by clicking on CAP Action’s recommended ballot positions.
One proposition in particular that CAP Action opposes is Prop 211, which would require donors to political organizations like CAP to be made public, while it carves out exemptions for major liberal leaning organizations such as corporate media, big tech, and labor unions. It is a convoluted measure designed to silence some donors by opening them up to harassment and intimidation, while shielding favored groups. Read an op-ed I wrote with Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi here.
One measure in particular that CAP Action supports is Prop 309, which would require valid identification to vote in person or by mail. It includes an opportunity for any valid voter without identification to receive an ID at no cost to them. Read more about Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Prop 309 here.
Another important measure CAP Action supports is Prop 132, which requires any ballot measure that seeks to raise taxes on Arizonans receive 60% of the vote to pass. Read more about this commonsense measure here.
Many ballot measures are written by out of state special interest. The AZ Free News recently found those behind the effort to stop Propositions 128, 129, & 132 are almost all from outside Arizona. Just one percent (1%) of the funds behind the effort came from Arizonans. Read the article here.
For your personal voter guide showing candidates just in your legislative and congressional districts, go to azvoterguide.com.
To see CAP Action’s endorsements, click here.
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