Both freshman 6th Judicial District Judge Suzanne F. Carlson and veteran La Plata County Judge Martha Tinsley Minot retained their seats in Tuesday’s election.
In the final report, Carlson received 12,514 votes – 73 percent – for retention in La Plata County and 2,765 in Archuleta County, for a total of 15,279 votes for retention, 66.5 percent of total votes cast. Carlson received 4,597 votes – 27 percent –in La Plata County against retention and 1,459 against in Archuleta County, for a total of 6,056, for a total of 34.5 percent of total votes cast against.
The 6th Judicial District also includes San Juan County, which announced on its website late Tuesday that the high turnout meant that votes were still being counted and would not be available until today. Those results will not affect the final outcome of the election.
Minot received 14,429 votes – 77.6 percent – for retention and 4,153 – 22.4 percent – against.
The judges were recommended for retention by members of the 6th Judicial District Review Commission, which reviewed their performance with surveys, in-court observations, reviews of case rulings and interviews with the judges.
Minot will serve a new four-year term, and Carlson will serve a six-year term.
Judges in Colorado are not allowed to campaign in order to maintain impartiality.
Judges who are recommended for retention rarely are unseated by voters. According to the Colorado Judicial Review Commission, since 1990, 1,144 of the 1,148 judges recommended for retention, 99.7 percent, have been retained. Only 35.3 percent of the judges who received “do not retain” recommendations lost their seats.
While both Minot and Carlson received lower-than-average grade, they still received recommendations for retention. An analysis of judges sitting for retention showed that female judges were disproportionately ranked lower than male judges.
“Women in power positions tend to be in kind of a ‘double jeopardy’ situation because, for women, perceptions of warmth and competence work against each other,” said Kate Ratliff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Florida who works with Project Implicit, examining implicit biases regarding gender. “So a woman who is seen as especially warm is typically not seen as being competent (which could lead to her being rated lower). But if a woman is seen as being competent and good at her job, she is typically not seen as being particularly warm and kind (which could also lead to her being rated lower).”
All election results are unofficial until they are certified.