Missouri Judical Elections

Before setting out to judge the judges, it is important to know how the Missouri judicial process works. In many areas of Missouri, judges run for their seat on the bench as a Republican, Democrat or Independent. Most of Missouri's state trial judges are elected in these partisan races.

Typically, elections are between a Democrat and a Republican, but sometimes judges can run unopposed. However, appellate judges and trial judges in St. Louis and the counties of St. Louis, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Greene are selected under Missouri's Non-Partisan Court Plan. Refer to the Missouri Plan for more information on this type of election.

If a vacancy occurs during a term, the position is filled by an appointment from the governor. This appointment will stand until the next general election. At which time the normal process will take over once again.

Cities that have municipal courts determine the way that municipal judges are selected. Most of these judges tend to run in elections.

Different courts have varied time lengths for their judge’s terms. Circuit judges serve six-year terms and associate circuit judges serve four-year terms. But judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Court of Appeals serve 12-year terms.