KUSA – As you’re filling out your ballot this fall, don’t forget about the judicial retention races. We get that it’s hard to make an informed choice about these elections—and we want to help.

You get to decide whether your local and state judges deserve to keep their jobs, which is really important.

Local judges decide who gets custody in a divorce, whether a drunk driver goes to jail and how long someone spends in prison for violent crimes like rape or murder. Supreme Court judges decide how our government and our legal system work.

But a 9NEWS investigation earlier this year found that judges 70 percent of judges recommended for firing win re-election in Colorado, on average receiving 54 percent of the vote.

Two judges up for election this year earned a “do not retain” recommendation: District Court Judge Jill-Ellyn Straus (Adams and Broomfield counties) and District Court Judge Michael Shiferl (Bent, Crowley, and Otero counties).

RELATED: Colorado judges win elections despite bad reviews


The Colorado Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation, which reviews each judge up for retention, doesn’t blanket the state with advertisements the way campaigns do and the its website can be hard to sift through.

VIEW LETTER GRADES OF EVERY JUDGE: we sorted all the judges alphabetically by last name so you can see the letter grades. (Keep in mind that a B- is the lowest grade given this year.)

LOOK UP ANY JUDGE TO SEE MORE INFO: here you can read the panel’s reviews for each of the judges on your ballot. (Any negative information about the judge will appear in the fourth and final paragraph of their write-up by state rules.)

And if you’re feeling really ambitious, each review contains a link underneath the judge’s photograph called “2016 Retention Survey Report.” This is all the raw data from the surveys and interviews the panel conducted with lawyers, elected officials and other community members.