Vermont judicial elections

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Only judges on the probate courts and assistant judges participate in judicial elections in Vermont. Candidates for the probate court must have served as a judge or attorney in the state for at least five of the last 10 years. Assistant judges are not required to be attorneys. Each county has two assistant judge seats. Additionally, if an elected judge reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 during their term of office, they may serve the remainder of their term. Chapter 2, sections 32-34 of the state constitution specifies the laws governing the selection, retention and terms for judges in the state.[1]

Election method


Candidates must file for the primary election by 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday after the first Monday in June.[2]


Judicial candidates and other county officers seeking election must have at least 100 signatures on their primary petition. [3]


Candidates compete in partisan elections. The winners of the party primaries advance to the general election.[4] Independent and minor party candidates do not face primary elections.[5]


Results are posted on the Vermont Secretary of State website. The office waits one full week after the election before posting results.


Other courts

All justices and judges on other courts are not elected by voters. Instead, applicants are screened by the Vermont Judicial Nominating Commission, which provides a list of candidates to the governor. The governor then appoints a candidate from the list. The appointee must be confirmed by the state senate to begin his or her six-year term. At the end of the judge's term, he or she faces a vote in the Vermont General Assembly to retain the seat on the court.[1]

The chief judge of the supreme court is also appointed by the governor, based on a list provided by the nominating commission. The appointee must be approved by the state senate. The chief judge of the supreme court serves a six-year term. The administrative judge for each superior court and district court is appointed by the supreme court. These judges serve a four-year term but may be removed by the supreme court.[1]

Similar systems are used in Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

See also