How do voters decide judicial races? Often it's by chance

Broward County voter relies on 'leap of faith,' another leans toward women

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Dozens of candidates are vying to win the votes of Broward County and Miami-Dade County citizens, even though many voters don't know much about them.

"Judges, I don't know anything about them," Broward County voter Joyce Lawson-Corley told Local 10 News investigative reporter Bob Norman.

"Yet you're voting," Norman said.

Yes, I'm voting," she said.

Their signs adorn street corners throughout the counties, and voters receive their campaign pamphlets in the mail. Still, voters remain mostly clueless about the candidates.

"Those judges could have a greater impact on their lives than the president of the United States," Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein said.

For voters like Lawson-Corley, the decision comes down to what she called a "leap of faith."

Carl Albrektson conceded that he really had no idea for whom he was voting for judge.

"There's too many judicial races," he said. "That's the problem."

Finkelstein called it "a form of Russian roulette." He said all too often it comes down to voting by ethnicity, race, religion or name.

"You're basically, for the worst possible reasons, choosing a candidate that will have life and death decision over individuals," Finkelstein said.

For Albrektson, there was another determining factor.

"What I feel you have to do is (ask), 'What does your gut tell you?' And I feel women run things a heck of a lot better than men do," he said.

"So you go by chromosomes," Norman said.

"They've never let us down before," Albrektson said. "A couple of the female judges (are) drinking too much, but, you know, hey."

Finkelstein said that in addition to looking at endorsements, voters should try to do their own research before voting.

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