JP Election Brief: Results from Texas and more!
- June 5: Primary election in California
- June 5: Primary election in New Mexico
- June 5: Primary election in Montana
In the News
Texas Supreme Court primary results
The Texas primary election took place Tuesday, May 29, 2012, narrowing the field for the November general election. In the Texas Supreme Court elections for places 2, 4, and 6 two candidates have been eliminated thus far, with a primary runoff election to take place for one of the seats.
Place 2: In the race for place 2 between current justice Don Willett and former Supreme Court justice, and current District Court judge, Steve Smith, Smith was eliminated. Smith and Willett also competed against one another in the 2006 race, which was close: Willett earned 50.5% of the vote while Smith earned 49.5%. This year's race gave Willett a much more comfortable margin: Willett earned 57.7% of the vote while Smith earned just 42.2%. Willett will face off against Libertarian Robert Stuart Koelsch in the general election.
Place 4: In place 4 Republican incumbent David Medina faced fellow Republican challengers Joe Pool, Jr. and John Devine. As of the May 30, Pool had 28.8% of the vote, Devine had 32.2% of the vote, and incumbent Medina had 39%. Pool has been eliminated from the race, while Medina and Devine will compete in a runoff on July 31, 2012. The winner of the runoff will face Libertarian candidate Tom Oxford and Green Party candidate Charles E. Waterbury.
Place 6: Though Michele Petty, the Democratic candidate challenging Republican incumbent justice Nathan Hecht, filed a lawsuit on May 11, 2012 seeking to delay the printing of ballots and other GOP primary materials the primary went ahead without interruption. Petty and Hecht were both unchallenged in their respective primaries, and the two will face off again in the general election. The two will also face Libertarian candidate Mark Ash and Green Party candidate Jim Chisholm.
Races force July runoff
In addition to the Place 4 Supreme Court election, two Texas Court of Appeals races will head to a runoff on July 31. Runoffs are set to occur in Texas when no candidate in a primary receives more than 50% of the vote.
David Evans and Bill Whitehill will compete for Place 2 in July, winning 32.4% and 26.06% of the vote on Tuesday, respectively. Evans is a judge for Texas District 48, while Whitehill has been an attorney for over thirty years. The candidates are Republicans. The winner of the runoff election will run unopposed in the general. 
The votes for Yvonne Rodriguez and Marcos Lizarraga also forced a July runoff. Rodriguez is a former judge on the El Paso County Probate Court, and Lizarraga is a judge for Texas District 168. In the Democratic primary this week, Rodriguez won 38% of the vote, while Lizarraga took home 32.6%. Whoever wins that primary will challenge incumbent Judge Christopher Antcliff on November 6. 
Maricopa County experiments with the future of elections
For the first time, during the February 28 presidential primary, all provisional ballots cast in Maricopa County were processed electronically, using a new system developed by the county election office's IT staff. Each ballot was scanned into a computer to be processed by a system that checked multiple factors to determine voter eligibility, including registration status, age, and polling place location. The system flagged any ballots that had potential voter eligibility issues and automatically updated voter registration information if it detected any change in residence address, mailing address, or voter name.
During major elections, there are often thousands of provisional ballots cast in Maricopa County alone. In the past, all provisional ballots cast in the county were processed by hand, which required a significant amount of time. According to Maricopa County officials, automating the processing of provisional ballots during the fall election should save the county at least $15,000.
Chief Justice speaks out against excessive campaign spending
Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride, of the Illinois Supreme Court, believes that unlimited campaign spending is hurting the election process. He believes the increase in campaign spending following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling has caused more negative ads in Illinois, as well as Iowa. "It works in diminishing citizen participation and it works in dampening the enthusiasm of a citizen voter to show up on Election Day," he stated. He said he thinks about $5,000, to cover the cost of travel, should be the cap for campaign contributions. 
Justice Kilbride has some personal experience regarding this matter. In 2010, he amassed over $2.6 million for his retention campaign.
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- ↑ Times Record News, "3 members of Texas Supreme Court face re-election," May 15, 2012
- ↑ CBS DWF, "3 Members Of Texas Supreme Court Face Re-Election," May 15, 2012
- ↑ The Star-Telegram, "Texas Supreme Court incumbents have edge in GOP primary," April 27, 2012
- ↑ The Austen Statesman, "Don Willett wins GOP nod for Supreme Court spot," May 29, 2012
- ↑ Office of the Secretary of State, "2006 Republican Primary Election"
- ↑ Texas Secretary of State, "2012 Republican Party Primary Election," Accessed May 30, 2012
- ↑ The Houston Chronicle Blog, "Devine Says Runoff In Future," May 29, 2012
- ↑ The Colorado County Citizen, "Unofficial results are in ... county races are decided," May 29, 2012
- ↑ Statesman, "Suit seeks to delay GOP primary," May 15, 2012
- ↑ The Statesman, "Hecht opponent sues to halt ballot printing," May 15, 2012
- ↑ Ballot Access, "Lawsuit Filed to Keep Texas Supreme Court Justice Off Republican Primary Ballot," May 15, 2012
- ↑ Texas Secretary of State, Unofficial 2012 Republican Primary Results
- ↑ Texas Secretary of State, Unofficial 2012 Democratic Primary Results
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 Pew Center on the States, "Notable counties - Yes, Maricopa County is back again," May 10, 2012
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 CBS St. Louis, "Campaign Spending Negatively Affecting Voters", May 30, 2012
- ↑ Legal Newsline, "Justice Kilbride prevails in costly Ill. retention election", November 3, 2010