Missouri judicial elections
Judges in Missouri participate in retention elections following a commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection or partisan elections. Elections take place in even-numbered years.
|Supreme Court||Court of Appeals||Circuit Court|
|Retention elections - 12 year terms||Retention elections - 12 year terms|| Partisan elections or Retention elections - 6 year terms
(4 year terms for associate judges)
Retentions and re-elections
Trial judges who were elected in partisan elections may seek re-election at the end of their terms. They must run as a Republican, as a Democrat, or as an Independent. Partisan elections decide the majority of Missouri's judges. Judges first run in a party primary in August, with the winner of each primary moving on to the general election.
Candidates who run unopposed are not printed on the official ballot.
Judges on the supreme court and appellate courts are subject to the non-partisan court plan and run for retention. Trial judges in five counties also run for retention in accordance with this plan. Those counties are St. Louis, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Greene.
Judges under the non-partisan court plan must participate in retention elections after holding office for at least one year. Judges up for retention appear on a separate ballot. Voters must indicate whether to retain or remove a judge. Judges who receive a majority of votes in favor of retention are retained for a full term.
There are no term limits for the supreme court, other appeals courts, or circuit courts, but there is an age limit of 70.
Judicial performance evaluations
Judges subject to the non-partisan court plan undergo a judicial performance review. The Missouri Bar conducts these evaluations through two committees, one for appellate judges (including supreme court judges) and one for circuit judges. The Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee consists of two members of the bar from each court of appeals district, and two non-members from each district. Similarly, the Circuit Judicial Evaluation Committee consists of six members of the bar from each circuit and six non-members. These members serve six-year terms.
The committee reviews surveys of Missouri lawyers, in which lawyers are asked to evaluate judges based on a number of criteria. The committees make a recommendation as to whether or not a judge should be retained. Judges may appeal the findings of the committees.
Statewide results are posted on the Missouri Secretary of State website. Circuit court candidates can be found on the Secretary of State's website, though associate judge candidates are only published by the various county websites.
- Missouri judicial elections, 2014
- Missouri judicial elections, 2012
- Missouri judicial elections, 2011
- Missouri judicial elections, 2010
- Your Missouri Courts, "Meet your Missouri judges," accessed April 26, 2014
- Missouri General Assembly, "Section 115.121," August 28, 2013
- Show-Me Courts, "Types of elections in Missouri," accessed April 26, 2014
- Greene County, "County clerk: Candidates & ballot issues," accessed May 15, 2014
- Your Missouri Courts, "Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan," accessed July 17, 2014
- Show-Me Courts, "Judicial performance review process," accessed April 26, 2014
- Show-Me Courts, "Judicial performance review criteria," April 26, 2014
- Missouri Secretary of State, "Missouri election results," accessed April 26, 2014