Judicial races on next week's ballot pass under radar

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California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George gestures as he speaks during a session at the California Supreme court March 4, 2008 in San Francisco, California.

Most of the headlines about next week's elections in California focus on the governor's race and the United States Senate race, but there are also a number of judicial races on the ballot.

Voters will decide whether to retain three of the seven State Supreme Court justices, as well as a number of Appeals Court judges. Those require voters to cast "yes" or "no" votes. In some areas, judges are running in Superior Court races. Those are contested elections, with more than one person on the ballot.

Rick Hasen of Loyola Law School says California voters don't do much research on the retention elections and they tend to vote "yes." There are a number of websites that provide info on the judicial candidates, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association website.

California also tends to have pretty calm judicial elections, compared to rest of the nation.

"I actually think is kind of a blessing because I don’t think our judicial elections should be turned into free-for-alls," said Hasen.

In some states, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being poured into judicial elections and into negative ads. Hasen recently wrote about scary judicial ads for Slate. Here's one of the ads he wrote about:

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