Category Archives: Judicial Office

judicial campaigns awash in money

Judicial Campaign Spending

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, television ad spending for state Supreme Court candidate races surpassed $29.7 million in 2012. That was a record.

“Political parties and outside groups have dominated TV spending this election season, and are responsible for nearly 70% of the approximately $8.9 million that has been spent on TV ads since the start of September, according to data provided by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG.”

More recently. a new Brennan Center report looked at state supreme court elections for the 2017–18 cycle. As it turns out, many state court races across the country today are highly politicized and awash with money. A lot of of that money may come people with cases in before the court or hidden interest groups that that have an interest in the court’s outcome.

A lot of special interest money comes from all over the country to various candidates. Some of this is dark money, which comes from groups with undisclosed backers.

Research suggests that this money his has had an effect on how judges rule. Election year financial pressures sometimes result in better outcomes for big donors and political party supporters.

Spending on state high court elections has skyrocketed in recent years. As judicial elections come to resemble partisan elections, this can lower the public’s confidence in the judiciary. If judges are little more than robed politicians, why would they have trust in a judges supposed impartiality?

It’s a serious problem that has only gotten worse in recent years.

How has the growing expense of local judicial elections changed the way you operate your campaign or fund raise?


Judicial Canva Templates

Attractive graphic design and judicial campaigns go hand-in-hand. Good designs are needed for everything from websites to social media posts to print materials.

If you don’t have a designer handy (or can afford one) for your graphic and print needs, then you may a problem.

One way to get a head start on your campaign’s graphic needs is with designed-for-you Canva templates.

Canva templates are easy to edit use – even if you don’t have any graphic design experience.

What is Canva?

Canva is an easy to use online graphic design tool. It offers offers drag-and-drop functionality, along with a huge library of stock images, graphics and fonts. Even if you are novice and never used a graphic design program, you still create great-looking graphics for web and print. You can easily change colors, fonts, and add your own images.

Canva offers a variety of content types. From pre-sized social media images to marketing materials such as brochures, postcards, invitations and ads, you’ll find almost everything you need.

Canva is free and provides plenty of great design features. Canva Pro [aff] unlocks a number of additional time-saving features. Canva Print makes it easy for you to have your designs professionally printed and delivered to you.

How to get your free political Canva templates

Create an account with Canva. The free version is enough for most solo users. However, there are many feature advantages with the Pro account

Log into your Online Candidate website administration and check the Marketing tab in the top menu. The free Social Media Templates are also available through The login information is located in your website administration dashboard. (Not an Online Candidate client? Check out our campaign website packages.)

Instructions: Click on the links to open the templates. You should be brought to a page for each template that looks something like this:

The page displays a template preview along with a button that says “Use Template“. Simply click that button to start editing the template.

From there, you can edit any or all elements, add your logo and make it your own. You can download your image as a jpg, png or PDF or share your image directly to your social media accounts.

We also carry  Premium Judicial Templates for brochures, flyers, postcards and more.


Not an Online Candidate client yet? Check out our campaign website packages and features.

Note: These templates are not affiliated with Canva in any official way.

gavel and scales for judical website

What Qualities Make For A Good Judge?

Before voters enter the voting booth, they need to know something about the candidates. Judicial candidates running for city, county, district or even state judges tend to run campaigns with a lower level of advertising and promotion.

Because the level of voter contact may be less than other elected offices, running a campaign for judge has particular challenges. It’s important to put yourself in the best light possible. Here are some traits you should consider promoting to voters when running as a judicial candidate, either through your print pieces or campaign website:

Your Character and Integrity. Integrity is the keystone of our judicial system.Emphasize your personal temperament, your historical integrity, and – if necessary – lack of partisan influence. There should be no doubt about your personal or professional ethics.

Legal Accomplishments. Your educational and professional experience should provide a good basis for voters to evaluate you. This may include trial and/or courtroom experience. Even lawyers in private practice may have experience that can make them effective judges. It should show that you can handle the position, can deal with legal issues, and successfully dispense justice effectively.

Community Involvement. How have you participated in community activities or pro bono work?

Your Judicial Temperament. How will you conduct yourself on the bench? How will you interact with citizens, officers and court personnel? What will guide your decisions? While you may not be able express personal opinions publicly, voters who are paying attention will probably be able to figure out your judicial temperament.

Some judges tend to cram too much ‘legalese’ into their campaign materials. While that may help if you are running for a position in a bar association, many voters will either ignore or disregard large amounts of information. The average voter only reads at the eighth grade level. Your promotional material should be written to that level.

Succinctly summarizing your skills, history and approach will be much more effective than writing a 50-page brief about yourself. Voters are not lawyers – don’t treat them like one!

Brevity is the soul of wit – Shakespeare

Campaigning for a judge’s seat? A sexier title could get you elected — or sued

Campaign Slogans for Judges

Choosing a campaign slogan for judge candidatesA good campaign slogan is important for any political campaign. The right slogan encapsulates your campaign message and your primary appeal to voters. It should be short, memorable and in the best cases tap into a genuine emotion.

Campaign slogans for judicial candidates tend to be based more on personal and professional traits.

Here are some examples:

  • Integrity. Honesty. Commitment.
  • Strength and Experience
  • Working for YOU
  • A Record of Accomplishment
  • Experience Counts
  • Hardworking, Experienced, Fair
  • Justice for YOU
  • Proven Experience and Integrity
  • The right experience, the right choice
  • Experience, Integrity and Justice with Compassion
  • Balanced, Fair, Firm
  • Additional political slogans for different positions

Notice something interesting? Compared to slogans of traditional candidates for legislative or executive candidates, these examples are, frankly, kind of boring.

If you want to get elected to the bench, you can’t come across as too outrageous or partisan. Many states prohibit judicial candidates from making specific promises of what they will do in office other than general platitudes.

And while a judicial candidate could speak publicly about your views on specific hot-button issues, most candidates decline to do so. Instead, they tend to emphasize their experience or endorsements.

An endorsement from the local Police Benevolent Association might carry a different message than a candidate who promotes a long history as a public defender.

That leaves voters to figure out how a judge will perform on the bench. They likely won’t be able to figure out where you stand anything from just your slogan.

Once you’ve chosen a campaign tagline, be sure to use your judicial slogan in your web and print advertising. This will help create and cement your ‘brand’ into voter’s minds.

Creating a Judicial Campaign Logo

Judicial Logo – Sunburst with Scales of Justice ThemeOnce designed, a campaign logo becomes the lynchpin of a judicial candidate’s overall branding. The logo will appear on campaign yard signs, candidate brochures, direct mailings, palm cards, video ads and all other forms of political campaign advertising.

A badly-designed logo will reflect poorly on a campaign and will keep people from taking it seriously. The logo should only include the most important elements of the candidate’s name and the elected office that they are running for. Political logos with too many colors or design elements will confuse visitors can even be difficult to read, particularly on yard signs.

Blatantly copying another campaign’s logo may raise accusations of plagiarism. Many designs are similar, but if you are going to borrow design elements, don’t do it from your opponent or anyone running in the same district.

Judicial Logo Templates

Online Candidate carries a large number of judicial logo templates. These files are in PSD and AI formats, designed for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. They are simple and designed to inspire a formal brand.

Sample logo templates from Online Candidate:

Judicial Logo – Sunburst with Scales of Justice Theme

Judicial Logo – Gavel Theme

Judicial Logo – Red Stripe and Scales of Justice Theme

See all political logo templates available for download.

Judicial Logo Tips

Keep the design simple. Many candidates for judge tend to use a serif font. Script lettering is harder to read and may not translate well to print. If you add additional elements, such as a gavel or the scales of justice, keep it subtle and don’t let it overwhelm the candidate’s name.

Use only a few colors. Judges tend to go with black and white or red and black. Odd colors may get attention but may also distract from the messaging. The position of judge lends itself well to stark, strong impressions.

Know the rules. There may be local rules or laws that prohibit what can appear on judicial signage. There may be restrictions about certain images and (particularly) wording. Be sure to know any existing rules so you don’t run into problems later.

Keep your look consistent. Once you have a campaign logo design, don’t change it later. Much of your voter branding is there in your logo. If you change it, you’ll lose much of that connection.

Online Candidate custom website packages include a custom header, logo and color design. A high-res version of the site logo for your use in print or signage is included for FREE.

Judicial Campaign Websites

Judicial candidates can use the web to their advantage. A campaign website allows judicial candidates to tell voters about their qualifications and what they plan to do when they serve in court. Voters can use this information to help them make wise a choice when they go to the polls.

Online Candidate® gives judicial candidates the ability to create and update their own campaign website. Give your campaign a powerful online presence at an affordable price.

Judicial Election Website Designs by Online Candidate®

See our judicial campaign website design gallery.

The easy-to-use system makes it simple to add and edit your online message. Recruit supporters, raise funds online, add events and upload files, create contact forms, build an e-mail list and more.

No HTML or programming skills are required. We’ve helped many candidates create judicial candidate websites that help candidates run and win their elections.

Accept online donations. Online Candidate integrates with PayPal, Raise the Money – or you can integrate any payment processor. Judges and judicial candidates may want to consider LawPay to take online donations.

Recommended Content To Add To Your Campaign Website

Home Page: Create a ‘letter to voters’, telling them about your campaign, why you are running and what you hope to accomplish if you win. In time, you can update this information to include new developments or to shift your focus from general awareness to campaign support-gathering.

Biography/Resume: Start off with some personal information, and then take your resume and work it into a short biography. Keep your list short and bullet-pointed, but don’t simply make it a list of your work history. Work in a few words about what you did in those positions. Electing a judge is more than just about whether are qualified – voters need to like you, as well.

Organizations and Endorsements: Include any organizations you belong to, along with endorsements where possible. Endorsements can also be added throughout your site.

Voter Registration Information: Link to your state’s and/or county’s online voting registration pages.

Use your website to keep in touch with supporters and send voting reminders before Election Day.

For less than the cost of a mailing, you can have a great-looking website that will help WIN your judicial election. For more information, visit

Judicial Print and Brochure Templates

Campaigns without access to Quark and InDesign can still design and self-publish attractive campaign materials. Professionally designed brochure templates are the best way to create consistent-looking materials that will distinguish your judicial campaign from the competition.

Sample judicial-themed samples from Online Candidate:

Red White and Blue Brochure Template
Red, White and Blue
Judicial Brochure Template
Black and Gold Judicial
Judicial Candidate Print Templates - Gold Theme
Judicial – Gold
Black with Red Stripe Brochure Template
Black and Red
Blue and Red Red Stripe Brochure Template
Blue and Red
Red and Gray Stripe Brochure Template
Red and Gray Stripe
Blue Judicial Scale Brochure Template
Judicial – Blue Scale
Red Judicial Scale Brochure Template
Judicial – Red Scale
Yellow Brochure Template
Yellow Template

View entire brochure selection

Each brochure template package includes the following Microsoft Word templates:

  • Political Tri-Fold Brochure Template (Letter trifold 8.5″ x 11″)
  • Political Postcard Templates (4″x6″ and 4.25″ x 5.5″ designed for Avery Compatible Paper Stock)
  • Rack Card Templates (3.74″ x 8.27″ trim size)
  • Rack Card Templates (4″ x 9″ trim size trim size)
  • Political Business Card Template (2″x3″ designed for Avery Compatible Paper Stock)
  • Political Letterhead Template (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Political Press Release Template (8.5″ x 11″)

Why purchase a single template when you can own the COMPLETE set?

Free up your valuable time! Download these templates to add a professional edge to your judicial campaign brochures and handout.

types of domain names

Domain Names For Judicial Candidates

domain names for judgesWhile the majority of judicial candidates go with the typical .com and .net domain name extension for their campaign websites, did you know that there are brand new extensions available? You can register all types of specialized TLDs (extensions) for a variety of businesses, services and interests.

The .LAW extension is designed for attorneys, judges, law schools, online law or legal blogs, legal news aggregators and more.  The .ATTORNEY and .LAWYER domain name extension is perfect for any private practice lawyer, firm, legal service, or legal entity. And, of course, .LEGAL works for the above, too.

These extensions are not just for candidates, but also for practicing lawyers and attorneys. According to the American Bar Association, more than 50 percent of people looking for an attorney online base their decision on the strength of the potential attorney’s website.

Specialized domain name extensions can help establish an online presence and create an edge in a virtual marketplace.

Other specialized domain name extensions are available for registration. You may be surprised what new ones come to market. Soon they will soon be coming to websites near you.

Nonpartisan Judicial Elections

non partisan judicial electionsIn a non-partisan election, candidates do not run a belonging to any political party and are listed on the ballot without any identifiable party affiliation. Many US states use a non-partisan system for the election of judges, district attorneys and other public officials.

Thirteen states choose their state Supreme Court justices in entirely non-partisan elections. Fifteen states hold non-partisan elections for appellate judges. Twenty-two states participate in non-partisan elections for trial court judges.

  •     Arkansas
  •     Georgia
  •     Idaho
  •     Kentucky
  •     Michigan
  •     Minnesota
  •     Mississippi
  •     Montana
  •     Nevada
  •     North Carolina
  •     North Dakota
  •     Ohio
  •     Oregon
  •     Washington
  •     Wisconsin

non partisan electionsEighteen states hold non-partisan elections for trial court positions. They include:

  •     Arkansas
  •     California
  •     Florida
  •     Idaho
  •     Kentucky
  •     Maryland (partisan primaries)
  •     Michigan
  •     Minnesota
  •     Mississippi
  •     Nevada
  •     North Carolina
  •     North Dakota
  •     Ohio (partisan primaries)
  •     Oklahoma
  •     Oregon
  •     South Dakota
  •     Washington
  •     Wisconsin

In four states, there are exceptions non-partisan trial court elections:

  • Arizona: Judges of the Superior Court in counties with populations exceeding 250,000 are appointed. This currently includes Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties.
  • Georgia: Judges of the Probate Courts compete in partisan elections.
  • Indiana: Some circuit court judges participate in non-partisan elections.
  • Maryland and Ohio: Partisan primaries and non-partisan general elections.

Non-partisan in name only?

Although some elections may be officially nonpartisan, the party affiliations of candidates are generally known or can be surmised by the groups endorsing a particular candidate.

Some argue that partisan politics have no place in judicial races, and that they have led to more campaign contributions and an increased partisanship among judges. In six states that hold partisan elections, Republican justices outnumber Democratic justices nearly two-to-one.


Dos and Don’ts for Judicial Campaigns

scales of justiceIf you are running for judge, district attorney or other elected office, here are some of our top dos and don’t for online campaigning.

Do start early. There is a lot you can do online right now in preparation for your campaign. Put material about yourself out there now and begin building your online reputation.

Don’t register a bad domain name. Adding the year or position to your domain name can easily make the name irrelevant in the future. Prosecutors and county attorney often move on to become judges. Using a non-specific name, such as the candidate’s name or ‘vote’ and name, will last much longer and can be reused throughout your career.

Don’t commit to a domain name before you actually own it. Even if you are waiting to start your campaign website, do not commit to using your chosen domain name before you have secured it. There’s nothing worse than ordering campaign supplies listing a website that is wrong or, worse, owned by someone else.

Do invest in a campaign website. The barriers to entry are low, and there is no reason why a candidate in any local race should fail to have a website. Your opponent will probably have one, and interested voters will be searching for you online. If you don’t control your own online message, someone else will!

Do take online political donations (if allowed). Integrating online donations is not very difficult these days. Third party payment processors provide an inexpensive way to accept payments or donations online. Don’t forget to open your campaign bank account early!

Don’t let visitors leave your website without a strong call to action. Every page of your website should ‘make an ask’. It can be a donation, a share, a volunteer request or even simple reminder to vote for you. If you have an email list, be sure to push visitors to sign up for additional updates and reminders.

Know the difference between your primary and general election. While nothing is ever really ‘deleted’ on the web, you may want to consider tweaking or expanding your online message for the general electorate after you’ve won your primary. ‘Red meat’ may get you on the ballot, but a candidate usually has to attract more than just the base to win a general election.

When it is time, wind down your online campaign properly. Make final website notifications, and thank your supporters. They deserve it.

Image courtesy of digitalart /