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Near the bottom of June's ballot, beneath races for state treasurer and the board of equalization, locals will have the opportunity to choose two of the sixteen judges serving on the Sonoma County Superior Court.  
 
They may not make the news like governors or senators, but judicial rulings can have impacts, even if they don't always make headlines. 
 
Deva-Marie Proto is Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor. 
 
"They are very important. They preside over the trials for all Sonoma County criminal and civil cases."
  
That includes traffic court, probate, family court, drug court and mental health assessments.
  
A 1998 ballot measure combined municipal and superior courts in California---giving the state a three tiered system with superior and appeals courts, and the State Supreme Court.
  
If you can't remember the your last vote for a local judge, there's a good reason.
  
"They don't usually appear on the ballot because the incumbents usually are not challenged, so they usually run unopposed, so they usually don't appear on the ballot," Proto said. 
 
Judgeships are non-partisan offices elected county-wide---there are no districts---they typically serve a six year term. Like many county offices, judicial elections are always on the primary ballot---that's to enable a run-off if no candidate wins a majority.
 
The requirements for seeking office are simple.
  
"They do have to be an attorney admitted to practice law in California for at least ten years," Proto said.
 
 
With two candidates each vying for two open seats next month, the winners will almost certainly be decided in June.
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