July 15, 2001 Regular News League of Women voters still conducting its judicial survey Florida judges still have time to participate in a confidential survey that will be used to help educate voters about the value of an independent judiciary and the important balance between the three branches of government. Mimi Jones of the Tallahassee League of Women Voters said the organization has solved a computer glitch which may have prevented some judges from completing the online survey asking about the day-to-day realities of the threat to judicial independence. Every state judge should have received a letter inviting participation in the survey, and the league has sent out another round of letters encouraging those who have yet to respond, or had a problem in responding, to do so now. “The initial password caused a problem,” Jones said. “We have removed the password, and now all the judges have to do is log on. Because every judge uses the same logon, anonymity is still assured.” Questions on the survey include: • During recent judicial elections in Florida, have incidents arisen regarding inappropriate negative or misleading campaign advertising? • Are you ever conscious of the possible ramifications of making an unpopular court ruling? • Has this affected your decisions? Do you believe this has influenced the decisions of other judges? • Are you aware of any misleading or unfair criticism of individual decisions or personal attacks on judges in your circuit? • Should the legislature remove the budget authority of the chief justice and transfer it to the executive branch? • Should the legislature be allowed to supersede judicial rulemaking, as some legislators have proposed? • What issues or concerns have arisen in your circuit regarding judicial appointments? The Tallahassee League of Women Voters received a $3,000 grant from the Open Society Institute to conduct the survey. The goal of the survey is not only to publish the results, expected by the end of September, and encourage media coverage of the findings, but also to continue to educate voters about the issues at election time. “We are getting some wonderful, interesting, varied returns,” Jones said. Judges who have questions about the survey or are encountering problems in accessing the survey may call Jones at (850) 942-7199. League of Women voters still conducting its judicial survey
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