On November 8, Kansans will vote on the retention of Kansas Supreme Court Justices, as well as two more constitutional amendments. What exactly is the role of the Kansas Supreme Court, and what do these amendments really mean? Learn more about judicial retention in Kansas with this Cafecito Conversation between YWCA Northeast Kansas Advocacy Committee member Tara Wallace and retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier.
What’s up with all those judges at the bottom of my ballot?
In Kansas, as Justice Beier explains, supreme court justices are selected through a merit-based process. But they are retained by voters on the general election ballot. These votes aren’t your typical ballot choices between two or more opposing candidates. Instead, these are straight “yes-no” votes to retain a single individual. In other words, your vote is to answer the question, “Should this judge keep their job?” Judges and justices who lose their retention vote vacate their seats, and the judicial selection process starts over to replace them.
This year, justice is on the Kansas ballot in a big way. “As far as I know, we’ve never had six of the seven Kansas Supreme Court Justices on the ballot in the same year,” says Justice Beier. Colliding with the historic number of justices on the ballot is a movement to attack the integrity of Kansas courts and make them more political. In the conversation below, you’ll hear what makes the courts different from legislative and executive elections, and why it’s important to make an informed vote for each judge or justice on your ballot.
“We should expect good judges to honor their oath and be guided to decisions by the issues framed by the parties, the facts as demonstrated by admissible evidence, and finally, the governing law. Our justices do that. They deserve your yes vote on November 8.” -The Hon. Carol Beier, retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice
Are you ready to vote?
Based on 2020 U.S. Census data, as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. At YWCA, we believe that all elections are important, and your vote matters! Make sure your voice is heard in the November 8, 2022, general election.
- Register to vote, or make sure your registration is up-to-date: YWCA USA Voter Registration Portal
- The last day to register to vote in Kansas is October 18, when we will be partnering with the League of Women Voters and Loud Light for a Get Out the Vote event as part of the YWCA Week Without Violence!
- Learn more about what’s on your ballot: Look it up at Vote 411, run by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
- Make your plan to vote! Find times for advanced voting, photo I.D. requirements, and more at the Kansas Secretary of State website.