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The Florida Bar merit retention poll will be in the mail soon

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Merit Retention PollFive Florida Supreme Court justices and 28 appellate judges will be on the merit retention ballot November 8, and in-state members of The Florida Bar soon will be asked their opinions of those up for retention.

Every two years, Florida’s voters are asked whether the justices and the district courts of appeal judges up for retention votes deserve another six-year term, and the Bar’s merit retention poll assists the public with the process. Ballots will be mailed August 17, and in-state members in good standing can complete the confidential poll online or return the paper version of the poll by mail. Instructions for voting online will be printed on the ballots. The deadline for online voting is 11:59 p.m. EDT, September 8. The paper ballots also must be received no later than September 8. The Bar is encouraging everyone to vote electronically.

“For over 40 years The Florida Bar has offered attorneys the unique opportunity to vote in the merit retention poll,” said Bar President Gary Lesser. “ “Educating the public is something Bar members can do by sharing their knowledge and experience ahead of the upcoming election. It positions us, as attorneys, as experts in our field and as partners in our communities.”

The results will be distributed to the news media via a Bar news release on September 14, and will be published in the News.

Read the biographies of each of the justices and judges up for merit retention.

Supreme Court justices on the ballot include:

  • Charles T. Canady
  • John D. Couriel
  • Jamie Grosshans
  • Jorge Labarga
  • Ricky Polston

DCA judges on the merit retention ballot are:

• First DCA: Ross L. Bilbrey; Susan L. Kelsey; Robert E. Long, Jr.; Lori S. Rowe; and Thomas “Bo” Winokur

  • Second DCA: Patricia Kelly; Nelly N. Khouzam; Suzanne Youmans Labrit; Matthew C. Lucas; Robert James Morris; Stevan T. Northcutt; John K. Stargel; and Craig C. Villanti
  • Third DCA: Alexander Spicola Bokor and Edwin A. Scales.
  • Fourth DCA: Ed Artau; Cory J. Ciklin; Dorian K. Damoorgian; Jonathan D. Gerber; Robert M. Gross; Spencer D. Levine; and Melanie G. May
  • Fifth DCA: Jay P. Cohen; James A. Edwards; Brian D. Lambert; Mary Alice Nardella; Daniel E. Traver; and Carrie Ann Wozniak

In 1976, in response to public concern over abuses under the system of contested judicial elections, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment requiring that the merit retention system be used for all appellate judges.

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