The Florida Bar
The Vote’s in YOUR COURT - Judicial Merit Retention
"The Guide for Florida Voters: Questions and Answers about Florida Judges, Judicial Elections and Merit Retention" has answers to questions such as:
- What is the difference between a county and circuit court judge and an appellate judge?
- Why is it important to vote in judicial elections and merit retention elections?
- What exactly does a judge do?
The guide also has a separate section with frequently asked questions about merit retention elections.
- July 15. This year, 108 county and circuit court judicial candidates have posted Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statements to The Florida Bar website.
- July 28: Last day to register to vote for primary election
- Aug. 26: Primary election
- Sept. 5: Release of Florida Bar Merit Retention poll
- Oct. 6: Last day to register to vote for General Election
- Nov. 4: General Election
Guia para los votantes en español
Sources of authority and guidance regarding political activity by judges and judicial campaigns
Learn more about the laws, judicial conduct code and Florida Bar rules affecting judges and judicial candidates.
Merit Retention Election/2014
Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot in nonpartisan elections every six years so voters can determine whether the judges or justices should remain on their courts for another six-year term. These are called "merit retention" elections. This year, 22 of the state's 61 appeals court judges will be on the ballot; there are no Supreme Court justices on the ballot.
The Florida Bar has produced pamphlets for each district court with biographies provided by the judges who will be on the ballot. A limited number of printed copies are available to community groups on request: firstname.lastname@example.org
First DCA Biographies
The court covers Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. It has 15 judges. Five judges face merit retention votes in 2014.
Joseph Lewis Jr.
L. Clayton Roberts
Second DCA Biographies
The court covers Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties with 14 judges. Three judges face merit retention votes in 2014.
Judge Chris Altenbernd
Judge Morris Silberman
Judge Daniel Sleet
Third DCA Biographies
The Third District Court of Appeal is comprised of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties and is served by 10 judges. Three of those judges face merit retention votes in 2014.
Judge Barbara Lagoa
Judge Thomas W. Logue
Judge Vince E. Salter
Fourth DCA Biographies
The Fourth District Court of Appeal is comprised of Broward, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. Twelve judges serve the court, with four of those facing merit retention votes in 2014.
Judge Alan O. Forst
Judge Mark Wayne Klingensmith
Judge W. Matthew Stevenson
Judge Martha Warner
Fifth DCA Biographies
The Fifth District Court of Appeal includes the counties of Brevard, Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter and Volusia. The court is served by 10 judges, with the Legislature adding an additional position beginning July 1, 2014. Seven of the court's judges face merit retention votes in 2014.
Judge Wendy W. Berger
Judge Kerry I. Evander
Judge C. Alan Lawson
Judge Richard Orfinger
Judge William D. Palmer
Judge Thomas D. Sawaya
Judge F. Rand Willis