Wednesday, November 07, 2007

1 in 3 voters reject Pennsylvania judges

The Pennsylvania political establishment is pointing to the fact that none of the state appellate judges were ousted in Tuesday's election as a sign that the anger over the July 2005 pay raise has subsided or the reform movement has stalled.

But you have to take a closer look at the numbers to see that voters are still not happy with the way Pennsylvania run.

In many cases, up to 33 percent of the voters voted "NO" on the question of retaining judges for new terms. That's a remarkably high rejection rate for retention elections, which typically see judges receiving 80 percent or higher "YES" votes.

It's significant that upwards of 600,000 Pennsylvania voters would vote "NO" to retain a judge they probably have never heard of before.

Reformer Tim Potts of DemocracyRisingPA hit the nail on the head: "Lawmakers who take comfort in Supreme Court Justice Tom Saylor's retention victory, believing that they can return to the bad old days, are deluding themselves and will regret it. They're much easier targets than judges, and they've given voters much better ammunition."

Here's a recap of the retention elections compiled by The Associated Press:

Supreme Court Retain Thomas G. Saylor
9,208 of 9,268 precincts (or 99 percent) reporting

Yes, 1,160,724 - 67 percent
No, 576,460 - 33 percent

Superior Court Retain Joan Orie Melvin
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,130,513 - 64 percent
No, 636,705 - 36 percent

Superior Court Retain John L. Musmanno
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,025,633 - 62 percent
No, 630,535 - 38 percent

Superior Court Retain Correalle F. Stevens
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,057,186 - 64 percent
No, 599,541 - 36 percent

Cmnwlth Ct Retain Bonnie B. Leadbetter
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,038,622 - 63 percent
No, 601,746 - 37 percent

Cmnwlth Ct Retain Bernard L. McGinley
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,016,201 - 63 percent
No, 606,316 - 37 percent

Cmnwlth Ct Retain Doris A. Smith-Ribner
9,208 of 9,268 precincts - 99 percent

Yes, 1,028,938 - 63 percent
No, 609,248 - 37 percent

An interesting perspective on what the retention voting means can be found at The Commonwealth Foundation's Policy Blog

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