Cover Story: Judging the judges

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Campaign 2010.  Trial and error?

Election Day is Judgement Day for local candidates for the bench.  The people vote.  But a lot of people say the way we decide is a miscarriage of justice.

The process by which we elect judges is simple. Perhaps too simple.  Practically one step away from drawing a name out of a hat.

One example, 13 candidates are in the running to become a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals - the second highest court in the state.

Even the most knowledgeable voter only has the slightest insight into who's qualified to sit on the bench.

And now a new twist.  In the Court of Appeals race voters statewide aren't just choosing one candidate. They have to pick their top three for the seat in a first-ever instant runoff.

They're calling it the "fruit basket" election.

But it highlights a larger problem.  On Tuesday's ballot, at least in Mecklenburg county, there are as many names to consider for judicial offices as there are for the other elected offices - like for Congress and county commission.

Is this any way to elect someone so important?

PrimeTime's Jeff Atkinson reports in our Cover Story.