Utah judicial elections

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Judges in Utah stand in retention elections that occur during the November general election.

  • Judicial elections only take place in even-numbered years in the state.

Supreme Court Court of Appeals District Court Justice Courts
Retention election - 10-year terms Retention election - Six-year terms Retention election - Six-year terms Retention election - Six-year terms

Retention elections

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. If the candidate receives more yes votes than no votes, he or she is successfully retained. If not, the candidate is not retained, and there will be a vacancy in that court effective the first Monday in January following the general election.[1]

Filing deadline

Candidates must file their declarations of candidacy between the second Friday and the third Thursday in March of the election year.[2]


Results can be found on the Utah Elections website.



Judicial performance evaluation

In 2012, Utah had its first statewide judicial performance evaluation for judges standing for retention. These were conducted by the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.


From the state's inception in 1896 until 1951, judges participated in partisan elections. In 1951, legislation changed the process for the judiciary to nonpartisan elections. Legislature created another change in 1967, so that if a candidate was unopposed the voters would answer whether the candidate should be retained or not, although opposed candidates still ran in nonpartisan elections. It was not until 1985 that Utah's judicial elections became unopposed retention elections.[3]

See also

External links