North Carolina voters are being asked this fall to choose among four pairs of candidates in statewide judicial races -- one for the state Supreme Court and three for the Court of Appeals.
But it's possible voters in the races for president and governor this November won't even bother voting for the judicial races. They may not know about the candidates or care. Newcomers to the state also may not know that judges are elected.
The number of ballots cast for top-of-the-ticket races in 2008 and 2010 compared to those for the Supreme Court race fell by roughly one-fourth.
This year's key judicial race is for Supreme Court, where Associate Justice Paul Newby is being challenged by sitting Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV.