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What Ratings Mean

For the November 2016 election, organizations rated the candidates in every contested race. There are ratings for:

What We Consider in Our Ratings

Each organization rates candidates based on the criteria of integrity, judicial temperament, diligence, professional competence, and community understanding. Our ratings take into account the candidate’s answers to our questionnaire and an interview of the candidate in which representatives of all of our organizations participate, as well as other information, including a writing sample and information provided by disciplinary authorities. For more detail on our criteria, click here.

We ask all candidates in contested races to participate in our process. If a candidate declines to participate without a reasonable excuse, that candidate’s rating will be “Refused to Participate” unless a “Not Recommended” rating is warranted. Our grid shows the ratings that our groups most recently gave each unopposed candidate for the office to which he or she now seeks election.

The Rating Terms

Each organization gives every candidate one of the following ratings:

  • Excellent - This rating means the candidate is outstanding based on the criteria and is a superior choice for this judicial office.
  • Good - This rating means the candidate substantially meets the criteria and is well qualified for judicial office.
  • Adequate - This rating means the candidate meets the criteria passably or, alternatively, fails to satisfy one or more of the criteria.  A candidate rated “adequate” possesses at least the minimum qualifications for the office.
  • Not Recommended - This rating means the candidate does not meet the criteria, lacking the minimal qualifications for judicial office.

The rules of three organizations permit them to use the “preferred” when two candidates in the same race have an equal rating.

The "Grade Point" Average

For voter convenience, we also give you an average rating for each candidate in number form.  To get this average, we assign a number value to each rating (excellent = 4, good = 3, adequate = 2, and not recommended = 0), add the values of the ratings given to the candidate and divide the sum by the number of organizations that rate the candidate. Each organization’s rating is given equal weight in the averages and is not weighted by the number of members that the organization has.