Maryland judicial elections

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Judges in Maryland participate in retention elections or nonpartisan elections,[1] depending on the level of court. Judicial elections are only held in even-numbered years.

Primary election

Circuit and orphans' court judges compete in a partisan primary for the Republican and/or Democratic nomination. Candidates may cross-file with both parties. The candidates who receive the most votes from each primary advance to the general election to compete against each other, as well as any minor party or independent candidates.[2][3]

An example of the elections process for the circuit courts provided by the Maryland State Board of Elections:

  • In Circuit X, there are two incumbent judges who must stand for election. They are candidates A and B, a Democrat and Republican respectively. They both file Certificates of Candidacy to appear on both the Democratic and Republican Primary ballots. Candidate C, a Democrat and qualified member of the Bar also files a Certificate of Candidacy to appear on both the Democratic and Republican primary ballots.
  • In the primary election, the Democratic Party selects candidates A and C (i.e. those two candidates received the most votes) and the Republican Party selects candidates A and B.
  • In the general election candidates A, B, and C all will appear on the ballot since they each won one or both of the primary elections in which they appeared on the ballot.
  • On the general election ballot, in addition to candidates A, B, and C, candidate D will also appear on the ballot. Candidate D is a member of the Green Party and a qualified member of the Bar and received the Green Party's nomination.
  • The two candidates who receive the most votes will be elected to office.


—Maryland State Board of Elections[3]

General election

Appellate judges stand for retention in the general election. Trial court judge candidates who advanced from the partisan primary run in the general election without party affiliation.[5]

Court of Appeals Circuit Court Orphans' Court
Retention election - 10 year terms Nonpartisan election of judges[1] - 15 year terms Nonpartisan election of judges[1] - Four-year terms


Appellate and Circuit Court results are posted on the Maryland Board of Elections website. Orphans' Courts results can be found on the county election websites.



See also

External links


MarylandMaryland Court of AppealsMaryland Court of Special AppealsMaryland District CourtsMaryland Circuit CourtsMaryland Orphans' CourtUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MarylandUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitMaryland countiesMaryland judicial newsMaryland judicial electionsJudicial selection in MarylandMarylandTemplate.jpg