Three of Wyoming’s Supreme Court justices and seventeen District and Circuit Court Judges in the state are up for retention on Tuesday’s ballot.
Voters will decide whether or not to keep Supreme Court justices Keith Kautz, Kate Fox, and William Hill. In this year’s Wyoming State Bar Judicial Advisory Poll - a survey of the state’s attorneys that ranks the judges up for retention in an election year - 90 percent of attorneys favored retaining Fox and Kautz, and 82 percent favored retaining Hill.
Judges in Wyoming, including the justices, come up for a retention vote after serving for at least a year, and thereafter every time their term expires. Judicial terms are between 4 and 8 years in Wyoming.
Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kite said many people don’t vote on the issue because they don’t know much about their judges.
“It’s like anything else in our democracy. I would urge citizens to take the time to find out enough about the judge that they feel confident one way or the other,” said Kite.
Judges are not allowed to campaign for their seats on the bench, and Kite said the rule is intended to keep judges impartial.
“It’s an effort to give the public some input but also protect the judicial process from political influence.”
Kite adds that since the retention vote was added in the 1970s, only seven judges have not been retained.