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Data Snacks: Down Down Down Ballot

Are you still looking for a way to contribute to your community? Run for one of these downballot, paid offices.

Every four years in Maricopa County, we elect a Constable and a Justice of the Peace for each of 26 Justice Precincts. The precincts of LD3 are in 4 of them. New Justice Precinct boundaries were drawn when the new Voting Precincts were created in 2022. Justice Precincts are based not on population, but on the workload of the courts, something called Judicial Productivity Credits.

In the movies the Justice of the Peace (JP) marries people. That is still the case. They also handle misdemeanors, speeding tickets, orders of protection and small claims. In Arizona, small claims are limited to $3500, which seems wildly out of touch with modern life. In Washington State and California, the limit was raised to $10,000 a long time ago.

A JP is in fact a Judge. Judges for Superior Court, Appeals Court and the state Supreme Court are appointed while JPs are elected by voters in partisan elections.

A Justice of the Peace does not even have to be an attorney. The qualifications for the job are to be a registered voter in the Precinct and understand the English language.

And it’s a paid position – over $100,000. It qualifies for a state pension.

Constables are elected based on the same Justice Precincts. They perform all of the “outside” duties of the court. Duties like serving summons, seizing property and performing evictions are their domain. Constables are also paid. Several are women.

In the 26 Precincts, half of the Justices are Democrats, half are GOP. 16 Constables are Republicans.

Arizona old timers will recognize several familiar surnames in these jobs. Reagan, Pearce (!), Riggs. A bit of nepotism at work. You’ll see former legislators, candidates and even a sitting legislator, Rebecca Rios, and a Democratic LD Chair, Mike Flores.

In LD3, every elected JP and Constable is Republican. Desert Ridge and North Mesa are on the ballot next year. Encourage a friend to run. Not as high profile as a legislator, but the pay is about four times as much.

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