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Become a Judge Through Merit Selection

In a merit-selection district, a nominating commission reviews and interviews judge candidates.

Judicial district nominating commissions

When a district judge vacancy occurs in a merit-selection district, a judicial district nominating commission anounces it is accepting nominations, interviews the nominees, and recommends three to five people to the governor for consideration. The governor then appoints one of these.

When a district magistrate judge vacancy occurs in a merit-selection district, it is filled following the same process. However, instead of recommending nominees to the governor, the commission makes the appointment. 

Judicial district nominating commissions are made up of lawyers and nonlawyers who live in the judicial district. Lawyer members are elected by fellow lawyers in that district, while nonlawyer members are appointed by local county commissions.


Judge vacancies

Vacancies in merit-selection districts


Merit-selection districts

Judicial district nominating commission election results for 2024

Voters in these judicial districts approved selecting judges through a merit-selection process:


Retention and partisan elections

Judges standing for retention in merit-selection districts, and judges seeking election through partisan ballot, must contact the Kansas Secretary of State to get answers to questions to ensure all filing requirements are met. 

About retention and partisan elections

Find a District Court

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