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G-FYI™: Changes Made in Way Judges, Magistrates Are Elected

The Free Press WV

A big change is in store for voters who head to the polls in May. The Primary Election, to be held on Tuesday, May 10, has traditionally been about political parties choosing their party nominees to face off in the November General Election.

For many offices this is still the case, but it is no longer true when it comes to the election of our judges from the State Supreme Court of Appeals to local magistrates.

As a result of changes in the state code enacted by the West Virginia Legislature last year, all judicial seats are now non-partisan. That is one big change in that it means that our judges will be elected in May as opposed to November.

Another change that resulted from the legislation is that circuit judges and magistrates will be elected by division. In Gilmer County one circuit judge will be elected from division one and one from division two. The same is true with magistrates, one will be elected in division one and another in division two.  A division is not a geographical district but is a position.

Traditionally multiple candidates might have run for these positions and the top vote getters from the group would be elected to the positions. This is no longer the case. With two circuit court divisions and two magistrate court divisions in Gilmer County the candidate with the top vote in each division will be elected.

Based on the filings for the office of circuit judge, both Judge Richard Facemire in division one and Judge Jack Alsop in division two will be re-elected as neither has any opposition. The same is true of Magistrate Carol L. Wolfe. No one filed to run against her in division one and as such she is running unopposed.

Incumbent Magistrate Alton L. Skinner II is being challenged for the division two position by Clarissa G. Ferrell and Pam Cutlip. The division two winner for magistrate will be the top vote getter in the race between Skinner, Ferrell and Cutlip.

The WV Legislature

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