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October 18, 2010

2010 North Carolina Judicial Races - How To Vote

Asheville courthouse.jpgJudicial elections are extremely important. The decisions that judges make directly impact the lives of many people. This is particularly true if you happen to be one of the almost 3 million people who happen to have a case in the North Carolina court system each year. This means that many voters will look a judge in the eye at some point, whether in the context of divorce, child custody, child support, civil suit (personal injury, property dispute) or even the penalty side of misdemeanors (traffic) or criminal charges. In many cases, the judge decides who wins and who loses. In all cases, the judge can have an impact on how the case is decided. Therefore, who gets elected as judge may directly affect your life.

Since the North Carolina Legislature decided that judicial races are to be non-partisan, it is hard to know who to vote for, unless you personally know the person who's running for judge. If you do not know the candidate, and you do not know what party (Republican, Democrat or other) they belong to, how can you intelligently cast your vote? The best way is to ask a lawyer who has experience in the courtroom trying cases before the judge.

Here is how I plan to vote in the judicial elections based upon my personal knowledge of the candidates, their legal experience, and their known or perceived judicial temperament. Please print this list and take it with you when you vote:

NC Supreme Court
Judge Robert C. "Bob" Hunter (Brady seat)

NC Court of Appeals
Judge Rick Elmore (incumbent)
Judge Martha Geer (incumbent)
Judge Jane Gray (Calabria seat)
Judge Sanford Steelman (incumbent; unopposed)

NC Court of Appeals (Wynn seat - 13 candidate "instant runoff" race)
#1 choice - Judge Cressie Thigpen
#2 choice - Stan Hammer
#3 choice - Harry Payne

Buncombe County:

Superior Court (seat No. 1)
Alan Thornburg: thornburgforjudge.com

Superior Court (seat No. 2, instant runoff)
Heather Whitaker Goldstein: heatherforsuperiorcourtjudge.com

District Court (Barrett seat)
Sharon Barrett: N/A

District Court (Brown seat)
Shirley Brown: judgeshirleybrown.com

District Court (Cash seat)
Julie Kepple: julieforjudgecampaign.com

District Court (Knight seat)
Rebecca Knight: N/A

District Court (Young seat)
Patricia Kaufmann Young: re-electjudgeyoung.com