RALEIGH, N.C. — For the first time in North Carolina, ballots did not list the party affiliation for judicial candidates. With that factor out of the equation, uninformed voters could only choose based on gender -- women won the day.
For now, men still hold the majority, 6-to-1, over women on the state's supreme court, but change is moving up through the lower courts.
In December, two-thirds of Wake County's District judges will be women.
"We have more women practicing law," said Monica Bousman. "More women in the courtroom."
That's because there are more women on the ballot.
Bousman was re-elected to the Wake County District Court.
The odds were in her favor: According to research done by NC FREE, voters who made their choice based on gender alone were twice as likely to pick a woman for a judge. NC FREE is a nonpartisan, nonprofit political research organization.
"Perhaps, on this level, they trust women to make decisions, especially concerning families and children," Bousman said. "That is predominant in what we do in district court."
In fact, according to the research, women were three times more likely to pick a female judge -- and it isn't just in district court. Voters filled all three of the open seats on the State Court of Appeals with women.
"I've always known women were smart, were capable," Bousman said.
Voters picked women for 4 of the 5 open seats on our state's highest courts: Women will make up half of the 15 judges on the State Court of Appeals.