Alaska’s Judicial Retention Elections: A Comparative Analysis


The results of recent judicial retention elections in Alaska, and the recent increase in political activities related to judicial selection in Alaska and many other states, have given rise to concerns about the fates of future Alaska retention candidates. This Article analyzes the results of retention elections nationwide and suggests that there may be good reason for Alaska judges to be worried. Baseline levels of voter support for retention candidates in most of Alaska are among the lowest in the country, and have gradually been declining over time. In addition, Alaskan voters have targeted individual judges for removal more frequently than voters in most other states. This Article’s analysis indicates that ensuring the retention of competent Alaska judges in the future requires more than simply improving the effectiveness of pro-retention campaigns for individual candidates, and that understanding and addressing deeply held voter attitudes must be part of a more comprehensive effort

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