Pennsylvania judicial elections
|Supreme Court||Superior Court||Commonwealth Court||Court of Common Pleas||Magisterial District Courts||Municipal and Traffic Courts|
|Partisan elections or Retention election - 10 year terms||Partisan elections or Retention election - 10 year terms||Partisan elections or Retention election - 10 year terms||Partisan elections or Retention election - 10 year terms||Partisan elections - Six-year terms||Partisan elections or Retention election - Six-year terms|
Though the state holds partisan elections, most candidates cross-file with the major political parties. If a candidate wins both the Republican and Democratic primary, she or he runs unopposed in the general election.
After a judge has won an initial partisan election, subsequent terms are attained through retention elections. In retention elections, judges do not compete against another candidate, but voters are given a "yes" or "no" choice whether to keep the justice in office for another term. If the candidate receives more yes votes than no votes, he or she is successfully retained. If not, the candidate is not retained, and there will be a vacancy in that court upon the expiration of that term. This applies to all judges except magisterial district judges, who are always elected in partisan elections.
Statewide results are posted on the Pennsylvania Election Returns website. County results are posted on the county election websites.
Pennsylvania has a long history of different judicial election methods. Initially, in 1776, judges in Pennsylvania were elected by the voters. In 1790, all judges were appointed by the governor for life long terms. Beginning in 1838, appointments needed confirmation by the senate, and terms were reduced. The state started using partisan elections again in 1850. From 1913 to 1921, appellate judges were elected in non-partisan elections. Finally in 1968, the current methods were adopted, where judges are elected in partisan elections, and re-elected in retention elections.
- Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2013
- Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2011
- Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2010
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court elections, 2009
- Judicial selection in Pennsylvania
- Campaign finance requirements for Pennsylvania judicial elections
- Pennsylvania county election websites
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Pennsylvania"
- PA lawmaker says dump corrupt judicial elections, "PA lawmaker says dump corrupt judicial elections," January 23, 2013