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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Three southern Illinois judges plan to retire in name only to avoid retention elections that require 60 percent approval rather than a simple majority of votes.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that John Baricevic (Bahr-SIH’-vick), Robert Haida and Robert LeChien have filed paperwork to retire in December 2016 but also seek to keep their jobs in the previous month’s general election.

Baricevic said that a general election campaign allows him to speak more freely on political issues that sitting judges can’t discuss under the state’s judicial ethics’ code. He is the chief judge for a five-county circuit.

The move is not without precedent in St. Clair County. Former 20th Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto also retired in order to run in the 2006 general election, which he won.