Colorado judicial elections

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Judges in Colorado stand for retention at the end of each term. These elections are held during the November general election in even-numbered years. In retention elections, judges do not compete against another candidate, but voters are given a "yes" or "no" choice whether to keep the justice in office for another term.

Newly appointed judges serve a provisional term of at least two years before being required to run for retention in the next general election.[1]

Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court County Courts
Retention election - 10 year terms Retention election - Eight-year terms Retention election - six-year terms Retention election - Four-year terms

Filing deadline

Justices and judges must file a declaration of candidacy in the between six and three months before the general election.[2]

Judicial performance evaluation

Evaluation procedures for the state's judges were created by statute, in 1988, by the Colorado General Assembly. The goal was to provide fair, responsible and constructive evaluations of trial and appellate judges and justices which voters could use when voting for judges running for retention. Judges are evaluated in the following categories: integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance and service to the legal profession and public.[3]

Criticism of process

There are critics of the state's method for evaluating judges. The most common complaint is that the evaluations are simply "rubber stamps" for judges standing for retention. To learn more about this viewpoint, see: The Denver Post, "Evaluating the performance of justices," February 15, 2010.


Election results are posted on the Colorado Secretary of State website. County results are posted on the county elections pages.



Judges in Colorado were elected by the people until 1966. In this year, a constitutional amendment changed the election method to the current process, where judges are nominated by a judicial nominating commission, appointed by the governor, and participate in retention elections at least two years after appointment. Pushes for this merit method began as early as 1947 by the Colorado Bar Association.[4]


See also

External links


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