Illinois judicial elections
Judicial elections in Illinois occur during even-numbered years. Supreme, appellate, and circuit court judges in Illinois participate in partisan elections. At the end of their term, judges have the option to run in a retention election.
The general primary occurs on the third Tuesday in March. Unlike many states with contested judicial elections, races in Illinois are regularly contested, often with several candidates running for a seat. The Illinois primary is closed, meaning voters must declare which major political party's ballot they wish to vote on.
The candidate that wins the most votes in the primary advances to the general election to compete against the candidate from the other party. If only one party has candidates in a primary race, that winner will continue on to run unopposed in the general election. Uncontested candidates in the primary are not included on the ballot and automatically advanced to the general election.
|Supreme Court||Appellate Court||Circuit Court|
|Partisan election and retention - 10 year terms||Partisan election and retention - 10 year terms||Partisan election and retention - Six-year terms|
The general election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
At the expiration of their term, judges may run for retention. Judges seeking retention are required to file a declaration of candidacy to succeed themselves with the Secretary of State at least six months prior to the general election. The names of judges seeking retention are then given to voters on a special judicial ballot without party designation and without an opposing candidate, on the sole question of whether he or she shall be retained in office for another term. Retention elections are held along with the general elections in the specific district or circuit where the judge is seeking retention. To be retained, judges must receive 3/5 of the vote.
Judges may decide prior to the primary election deadline to retire and place the vacancy on the upcoming primary ballot. If a judge waits until after that deadline, the Illinois Supreme Court will choose a replacement to fill the vacancy from December until the next occurring general election. Besides retirement, judicial vacancies also occur upon the death, resignation or removal of an incumbent judge from office. If an additional appellate or circuit judge position is created by law, the new seat is handled in the same manner as an existing vacancy would be filled.
Primary results are not posted on the Illinois State Board of Elections website until an official tally is taken one month following the election.
Check results on IllinoisJudges.net or county elections websites.
- Illinois judicial elections, 2014
- Illinois judicial elections, 2012
- Illinois judicial elections, 2010
- Illinois Supreme Court elections, 2004-2012
- The Illinois State Board of Elections
- The Illinois General Assembly, "Election Code 10 ILCS 5"
- Illinois General Assembly, "Election Code 10 ILCS 5," accessed March 7, 2014
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Illinois," accessed March 10, 2014
- The Illinois Courts, "About the Courts in Illinois," accessed March 10, 2014
- Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago, "2014 Primary: Frequently Asked Questions," accessed March 12, 2014
- The News-Gazette, "John Roska: Judicial elections explained," March 9, 2014
- The Chicago Tribune, "Unopposed Candidates Find Waiting The Primary Concern," February 3, 1992, accessed March 7, 2014
- Illinois Constitution, Article VI, Section 12 (d)
- IllinoisJudges.net, "2014 Illinois Judicial Elections," accessed March 10, 2014
- Illinois Constitution, Article VI, Section 12 (b)