What is a retention ballot?

Oklahoma Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeal are called "appellate courts," because they hear cases that have been appealed, and judges on these courts are thus called "appellate judges."

Appellate judges are first appointed by the governor from a list of three names of qualified individuals prepared by the Judicial Nominating Commission. At the end of their terms, appellate judges wishing to remain in office must declare their candidacy for retention. When a judge seeks retention, the judge's name is placed on the ballot at the next general election. Then Oklahoma voters can select "yes" to vote to retain that judge, or "no" to vote to not retain that judge. The Oklahoma Constitution provides that if an appellate judge does not receive a majority of "yes" votes, the office becomes vacant and the governor appoints a replacement.

If the judge does not file for retention or is not retained by voters, the governor appoints a new judge.

To ensure impartiality, appellate judges cannot be listed on the ballot by their political party. For the exact wording of the law regarding no political party affiliation, go to 20 O.S. § 1404.1.

Want to know more about judges and elections? Visit the Judges & Elections page for information about campaigning, who can be a judge and how to learn more about judicial candidates.

Who is on the next retention ballot?

Information about judges on the next retention ballot will be coming soon.

405-416-7000
800-522-8065 (toll free)

P.O. Box 53036
Oklahoma City, OK 73152

1901 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

This website has been created by the Oklahoma Bar Association to provide facts about the third branch of government and accurate non-partisan information to Oklahoma voters.

Our goal is to ensure that every Oklahoman has access to a fair and impartial court system, where there is no bias, prejudice or political influence.

405-416-7000
800-522-8065 (toll free)

P.O. Box 53036
Oklahoma City, OK 73152

1901 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

This website has been created by the Oklahoma Bar Association to provide facts about the third branch of government and accurate non-partisan information to Oklahoma voters.

Our goal is to ensure that every Oklahoman has access to a fair and impartial court system, where there is no bias, prejudice or political influence.