How Judges Get Elected

Before a judge or justice takes their position on the bench, the State of Florida requires some basic criteria. This includes and incorporates citizenship, as well as residency. Miami-Dade County’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit provides a useful guide outlining information on these necessary qualifications.

Appointed judges or justices may serve an unlimited number of terms until finally reaching the retirement age of 75. Nonetheless, vacancies can take place, necessitating a gubernatorial appointment until the state holds an election. These selections remain subject to confirmation by the Florida State Senate.

Judicial elections take place in Florida in even-numbered years. This includes retention elections, as well as nonpartisan elections as well. Although the state is about a year away from an election, the campaign trail starts early, and it’s never too early for candidates or voters to start consolidating all the information they need on elections.

Judicial races in Miami can prove confusing for candidates, let alone the voters that cast their choice in elections that appoint these officials. For this reason, our team from Reach Voters is breaking down some information on judicial races in Miami that we hope clears things up.

Florida Judicial Races

Florida represents one of 14 states that hold partisan or nonpartisan judicial elections and retention elections. They hold a primary election 12 weeks before a general election. To place their name on the ballot, judicial candidates must obtain signatures that equal at least one percent of the total number of registered electors in their district.

The state designs judicial elections to narrow the field of candidates to two in a general election. This process begins with the nonpartisan primary. Florida considers candidates who can obtain what we call a simple majority, or a 50 percent plus one vote, in an election the winner. They will not appear on a general election ballot unless a write-in candidate qualifies for the same office position.

In a general election, judges may stand for retention in the appellate court. Contrarily, a trial court judge must compete in a nonpartisan election. In these instances, partisan organizations, as well as political parties remain forbidden from endorsing, supporting, or opposing a candidate for office in any fashion.

In retention elections, appellate judges ask voters to retain a judge to another term in a simple binary “yes” or “no” format. These judges face no competition on a ballot. When a majority of the votes appear in favor of a certain judge, the judge remains retained to an entirely new term.

Finally, unopposed candidates for circuit and county courts will not appear on any ballot. These candidates are automatically considered elected after a general election.

Voting in Judicial Races in Miami

Registering to vote anywhere in the United States is a right that remains available to any individual over the age of 18 that is also a United States citizen. These registered voters additionally possess the power to the following outlined in Florida Statute 101.031:

  • An accurately counted vote
  • Asking and receiving assistance with the voting process
  • Explanations regarding questions concerning their identity
  • Votes that remain free of coercion or intimidation by election officials or other individuals
  • The ability to vote in a system that remains functional and accurate

Even at age 16, qualified minors can preregister for voting that goes into effect as soon as they turn 18 years of age. Nonetheless, to vote in Miami-Dade County, they must reside in Miami-Dade County as well.

Eligible citizens may register for voting at any time. However, they must understand that registration deadlines vary between elections and occur 29 days before Election Day. 

Online voting is another option for voters that can help individuals register their credentials and cast their vote when they experience difficulty making it to the polls. The State of Florida simply verifies these credentials by sending records electronically to the Elections Department for processing.

Information on Judicial Elections in Miami from Reach Voters

Judicial Races in MiamiFlorida requires that judges take the bench following an election or retainment as decided by the voters. For this reason, the voters wield the power who holds such an important position. Judges make decisions on a wide variety of issues not limited to traffic and small claims, in addition to criminal, probate, and guardianship concerns.

For this reason, remaining properly informed on judicial elections in Miami is essential to the proper progress and service of the law. In order to learn more about the judicial election process as a candidate or a voter, get in touch with the team from Reach Voters today!


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  2. “Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.” https://www.jud11.flcourts.org/.
  3. “Miami-Dade County 2020 County Court Judge Candidate Qualifying ….” 1 Jul. 2019, https://www.miamidade.gov/elections/library/qualifying-handbook/county-judge.pdf.
  4. “75 is the new mandatory retirement age for judges – The Florida Bar.” https://www.floridabar.org/news/tfb-news/?durl=/divcom/jn/jnnews01.nsf/8c9f13012b96736985256aa900624829/a238953264be64b785258347004f8e28.
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  12. “Florida Statutes – Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online ….” http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0101/Sections/0101.031.html.
  13. “Register to Vote or Update your Information – Division of Elections ….” https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voter-registration/register-to-vote-or-update-your-information/.
  14. “Register to Vote Florida.” https://registertovoteflorida.gov/en/Registration/Index.
  15. “Division of Elections – Florida Department of State.” https://elections.myflorida.com/.