How We Rate Candidates

What We Consider in Our Ratings

Each organization rates candidates on the criteria of integrity, judicial temperament, diligence, professional competence, and community understanding. We rate each candidate individually. 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. We take a close look at whether a candidate’s qualifications are a good match for the particular court he or she wants to serve. For more detail on our criteria, click here.

We ask all candidates in contested races on the ballot in Cuyahoga County to participate in our process. If a candidate declines to participate fully without a reasonable excuse, that candidate’s rating will be “Refused to Participate” unless a “Not Recommended” rating is warranted.

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 this 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 sought.
  • Not Recommended – This rating means the candidate does not meet the criteria, lacking our minimal qualifications for this judicial office even if the candidate meets the minimum statutory requirements.
  • “Preferred” Rating – Our organizations rate each candidate on his or her own merits. But the rules of three organizations give them the option use the term “preferred” for one candidate in a race in which the organization rated all candidates equally.

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. It is not weighted by the number of members that the organization has.