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DES MOINES, Iowa — Races for U.S. Senate and governor may draw the headlines but Iowa voters will also decide whether to retain judges ranging from the district court to the state Supreme Court.

Judges in Iowa are appointed by the governor who picks from a list compiled by a judicial nominating commission. After their initial year on the bench, judges must face a retention vote. They don’t have to go before the voters again until the end of their six- or eight-year term.

To help voters, the Iowa State Bar Association published a report grading judges facing retention votes this year on a number of topics. They include knowledge of the law, perception of the facts, timeliness of rulings and temperament and demeanor.

“Typically, anybody who appears in court is going to want to know that they’re treated fairly. That a judge a is not biased against them or for anybody else. That a judge will treat their case with importance, will learn the law that is applicable and pay attention to it and will get rulings out in a timely fashion,” said Becky Knutson, Iowa State Bar Association Judicial Administration Committee Chair.

The last question lawyers surveyed for the bar association’s report answer is whether they’d retain the judge in question.

For voters, it’s a simple yes or no question. The judge in question must receive a majority yes vote to remain on the bench.

“Judges sitting on the bench will rule on matters that really are of interest to the public,” Knutson said. “I mean, it’s in everybody’s interest to make sure the justice system works for people who are accused of crimes, both those who are guilty and those who are not. It is important to have qualified judges available for people who may appear in front of them. For instance, in a divorce or in a family matter. That tends to involve a lot of people.”

If a judge loses their retention vote, the governor picks their replacement after receiving recommendations from the judicial nominating commission.