Wanna Be a Judge? Female Sounding Names Win the Day

Most of California’s Superior Court judges are appointed, a few are elected.  For those few, ballot titles used to be one of the most important factors in a candidate’s victory.  Almost all voters will say that they do not know enough about judicial candidates to make informed decisions, so they vote based on other factors, like ballot title.  Now, we might be seeing a new trend although there are not enough contested races for a scientific study.

Most elected judges were previously Deputy District Attorneys because that ballot title was popular among the voters.  Many DDAs tried to make their ballot titles more interesting with some even using titles like “violent crime prosecutor” or “child molestation prosecutor”. Courts have now mostly stopped candidates from using inflammatory ballot titles.  

In recent elections, it appears that ballot titles may be less important than perceived gender.  Chatter around the water cooler suggests that women are more likely than men to win Superior Court races.  An unscientific study appears to back that up.  In the June Primary, female candidates did significantly better than their male opponents based on results in a few counties that had contested races. 

In San Diego County, only one race for Superior Court included a woman.  She made the runoff.

In San Bernardino County, there was also only one race that included a woman and she won. 

Riverside County had three races that included women candidates.  In two of those races, women advanced to the runoff…

In Los Angeles County, women ran in eight of the nine contested races for Superior Court.  In each of those eight races, women won outright or advanced to the November runoff.   

There was only one contested Superior Court race in Sacramento County and the woman won.

In Orange County, there were four contested races that included at least one woman.  In three of those races, women won or advanced to the runoff. 

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