The Iowa constitution says
Judges shall serve for one year after appointment and until the first day of January following the next judicial election after the expiration of such year. They shall at such judicial election stand for retention in office on a separate ballot which shall submit to the question of whether such judge shall be retained in office …”
What does that mean?
Surely it doesn't mean a separate piece of paper for every judge who must be retained. I think we would have been drowned in separate ballots in November.
Maybe it means one extra ballot with all the judges on it. But the wording conflicts with that because “judge” is singular. The ballot is for a single judge.
Or maybe it means each judge is to be voted on separately rather than with other judges who are also up for retention.
Back when the retention elections began in the 1960's we didn't have paper ballots. We had lever machines! Surely the authors of the amendment would have protested if they saw judges occupying lever slots on the same machine as every other candidate. Did they protest? Did they demand separate paper ballots?
Don't be ridiculous. “Separate ballot” means a separate vote for each judge. It is a rule designed to deter Governor's from appointing cronies and to sort out incompetent judges, not to dictate ballot style.
cross posted at http://iowavoters.org/2010/12/16/separate-ballots/