The Florida Bar
  1. Home
  2. For The Public
  3. Legal/Civics Education
  4. The Vote’s in YOUR COURT
The Vote's in Your Court
The Vote’s in Your Court is a resource for voters regarding judges and judicial elections. It includes the “Guide for Florida Voters,” an easy-to-read, nonpartisan brochure about the courts, the role of judges and the merit retention process. This page also includes biographies of the jurists facing merit retention in November, results of the Bar’s merit retention poll of in-state members, and statements submitted by trial court judicial candidates. For copies of the “Guide for Florida Voters,” send us an email.

Important Election Dates for 2020

For more information and details, visit the Division of Elections online.

Oct. 5 Deadline to register to vote in the November General Election
Oct. 24-31 Early voting for the General Election
Nov. 3 General Election

Judicial Elections

County court candidates run in nonpartisan, contested elections for six-year terms. Circuit court judges serve six-year terms and are elected by voters of the circuits in nonpartisan, contested elections.

Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statements

Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statements give county and circuit court judicial candidates the opportunity to share information about their education, credentials and other relevant details with voters. The Florida Bar has offered to post such statements for the past decade.

View Statements and Circuit Maps

How do judges become judges?

...are they appointed, elected, or both?

Most circuit and county court judges are elected; Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges are appointed by the governor and then run in merit retention elections to stay in office.

Map showing Florida's 20 judicial districts by county

Merit Retention

Supreme Court justices and District Courts of Appeal (DCA) judges are appointed by the governor. Newly appointed judges go on the ballot for the first time within two years after appointment. If the voters retain them, they then go on the ballot again every six years.

What is merit retention?

...and why am I being asked to vote on it?

Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot every six years so voters can determine whether they should remain on their courts for another term.

Merit Retention Biographies

Every two years, The Florida Bar provides biographies of DCA judges and Florida Supreme Court justices in merit retention elections. Click on the map to see which counties are in which districts.

Read Biographies of Judges Up for Merit Retention

Map that shows which counties are in which District Court of Appeals

Florida Bar Merit Retention Poll

Every two years, the Florida Bar’s Constitutional Judiciary Committee oversees a statewide merit retention poll that asks in-state Florida Bar members to rate judges and justices who are up for retention votes and of whom they have direct knowledge. The poll results may be useful to Florida voters.

View Poll results

Voter & Candidate Resources

Florida Supreme Court and Appellate Courts Decisions

Learn more about the opinions handed down by the Florida Supreme Court and the state’s five appellate courts: