Early election results Tuesday showed Coloradans voting in favor of a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would allow seven judges to move from one Front Range judicial district to a neighboring district.
About 68% of votes tallied just after 7:20 p.m. Tuesday were in favor of the amendment, with about 32% voting against, according to unofficial results from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
If approved by 55% of voters statewide, the amendment creates a one-time exception to the constitutional process of appointing judges in order to let seven judges who are currently working in the 18th Judicial District keep their jobs and continue working when the district is split in two in 2025.
The 18th Judicial District currently includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties and is one of the busiest districts in the state. Lawmakers already have decided to split the district in two in 2025, creating a new 23rd Judicial District that will include only Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
The amendment will ensure there are no disruptions in the justice system when the new district opens, proponents said. Opponents suggested the narrow constitutional amendment was unnecessary and shortsighted.
The new judicial district will be the first created in the state in nearly 60 years. A new district attorney will be elected in the November 2024 election, and the district will start operating in January 2025.
If the constitutional amendment does not pass, judicial officials will need to consider a different procedure to appoint judges in the 23rd Judicial District. They could follow the regular constitutional process for filling open judgeships, in which a local nominating committee submits candidates to the governor, who picks and appoints the new judges.
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