What Does Retained Mean?

So Morgan and I are out doing election observations in New Mexico and twice we have seen people ask poll workers a very simple question:

  • What does “retained” mean?

This is in the context of judicial retention races, where the question is “Shall X be retained as district judge in Y district?”  This is not a question asking you to “vote for one” or vote “For” or “Against”.  We watched a voter actually spoil her ballot because she didn’t get the question.  It is interesting to read over a ballot and realize how difficult they can be to read because they use pretty complex sentences on referenda, bond issues, and constitutional amendments.  As Morgan and I discussed this, we realized that asking “Do you want to keep the following judge in office?” is an easier way to ask the same thing.