SKOWHEGAN — A judicial vacancy in Somerset County Probate Court, the result of the resignation of Judge John Alsop, will be filled in a special election to be held in conjunction with the general election in November, according to a news release from Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

Alsop, who was probate judge for the county for 17 years, announced in June that he has been hired as an assistant state attorney.

The new judge will serve the remainder of Alsop’s original term, which is through Dec. 31, 2016.

Probate courts, established in the Maine Constitution in 1820, are courts with jurisdiction over specialized subject matter, such as estates and trusts, adoptions and name changes, guardianship, and protective proceedings. They also sit without a jury.

There are 16 probate courts and judges in Maine, one for each county. The judges, who are part-time, are elected.

To qualify for placement on the special election ballot, candidates much submit 300 to 400 signatures of registered voters in the county and a consent form to the secretary of state’s office.

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