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Party labels should be kept off judicial ballots

Ohioans should vote for the best people to serve them in the judiciary, not for the political party they prefer. The state’s system of nonpartisan elections for judges and state Supreme Court justices is a step in that direction.

Some in the General Assembly think Ohio ought to take a step backward. They have introduced a bill that would allow judicial candidates to specify their political party affiliations on election ballots, should they choose to do so.

At first glance, the bill’s bipartisan support seems to argue in its favor. It is sponsored by state Reps. Stephen Hambley, R-Brunswick and Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood.

But wrong is wrong, regardless of partisanship.

Changing the system would favor Democrats in heavily Democratic areas, Republicans where GOP registration is higher. It is that simple.

Legislators should leave the system as it is. Adding party affiliation to ballots would mean that in some cases, the best qualified judges and justices would be passed by. Is that what we want?

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