The State Board of Elections on Tuesday set Aug. 1-8 as the filing period for candidates seeking to fill a seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals being vacated by retiring Judge John Martin.
The N.C. Constitution allows only licensed attorneys to serve as judges. The filing fee for N.C. Appeals Court candidates is $1,331. Judicial candidates run without party labels.
The statewide vote to fill Martin’s seat will be held in conjunction with North Carolina’s normal general election on Nov. 4, regardless of how many candidates file, with the leading vote-getter winning the nonpartisan race outright.
This month Martin, who served on the appellate court from 1984-88 and again from 1993 until now, announced his retirement, effective Aug. 1. The candidate selected by voters to replace Martin will fill out the remainder of his current eight-year term, which ends in 2016.
A similar special election to the N.C. Appeals Court in 2010 attracted 13 candidates when Judge James Wynn vacated his seat to join the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. That contest employed North Carolina’s first ever use of “instant runoff voting” for a statewide race, but the system was repealed by lawmakers and replaced with having the winner decided by a plurality of votes.
While an election will be held this fall to fill Martin’s seat, Judge Linda McGee has been designated to take over as chief judge of the Court of Appeals, a mantle currently held by Martin.
In addition to the special election to fill Martin’s seat, there will be three other N.C. Court of Appeals contests on the ballot this fall.
Established in 1967, the Court of Appeals is North Carolina’s intermediate appellate court, with its 15 judges hearing cases in panels of three.
The special filing period implemented for the Martin seat will also apply to two special elections to fill superior court seats being vacated by Judge William Constangy (Mecklenburg County) and Judge Robert Johnson (Alamance County).