The Alabama Voter 
Fall 2009 Edition
Published December 19, 2009

Improving Judicial Selection, Volunteers Needed

by Mary Lynn Bates, Chair, LWVAL Judicial Selection Committee

LWVAL’s position on judicial selection is that judges should be chosen by a merit selection process. We do not support the current system of the partisan election of judges. However, since that is the system we have, we are committed to make those elections as fair and effective as possible. Therefore, for the last couple of statewide judicial elections, we have produced an online voter guide to the candidates for appellate court judgeships. Again in 2010, we intend to produce a nonpartisan, impartial online guide to the statewide primary and general appellate court elections.

The 2010 Guide will be put together with basically the same format, rules, questionnaires and procedure as the 2008 Guide. Volunteers are needed to gather candidate contact information, send letters to candidates, and call candidates or their representatives to inform them about the guide and later to remind them to fill in and submit their online questionnaires. Volunteers are also needed to assist Jean Johnson with the technical production of the Guide, proof read, and to help publicize the Guide through press releases, letters to the editor, email messages, notices to other organizations, etc.

The work runs from March until the election depending on what tasks the volunteer assumes. If you are interested in helping with any part of this project, please send a message to or contact Becky Sylvester, Jean Johnson or Mary Lynn Bates and indicate whether there is a particular task or time frame for which you want to volunteer. Because most of the work is by phone or online, you can do it from home and from anywhere in the state.

It is of the utmost importance not only that the Guide be unbiased but that candidates and the public perceive it as unbiased. If you will be publicly campaigning for any of the candidates, you should not volunteer.