Voters often overlook 'down-ballot' judicial elections

Party chairmen hope to reverse trend

SAN ANTONIO – As early voting nears an end and with Election Day right around the corner, Bexar County’s party chairmen are urging voters to pay closer attention to what are called “down-ballot” races.

Particularly judicial races.

“They’re paying more attention than ever,” Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Manuel Medina said when asked about voters' past lack of interest in down-ballot races.

“People are noting that these down-ballots make a difference in their personal lives,” he said.

Bexar County Republican Party Chairman Robert Stoval agreed.

“The judges can take away their property, take away their children (and) make life changes that will be effective for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Stoval said that studying a candidate’s qualifications is critical.

“If you just throw your vote because you like the way someone’s name is, that can be dangerous, because we do sometimes have people on the ballot who put their name on the ballot just because they have a good name and they don’t have the qualifications," Stoval said.

Medina said that his party is making a push to educate the electorate and to field strong, qualified candidates.

“It begins with the candidates bringing friends and family to the table,” Medina said.

Another thing voters should consider, Stovel said, is the salaries paid to judges.

“You are hiring somebody for the next four years for a $140,000 to $150,000 a year job,” he said.

He suggested that voters look closely at a candidate’s resume, just as an employer would do if they were considering whether to hire a job applicant.

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