Todd Platts might make a great Common Pleas Court judge.

As our representative in Congress for 12 years, he displayed qualities every judge should have, such as honesty, integrity and an even temperament.

Plus, Platts has a law degree and is a member of the bar.

Those traits alone might get him by on the bench while he grows into the job.

If Platts were our only choice on Tuesday, well ... we could do a whole lot worse.

But he's not our only choice, and his challenger has the same qualities, plus another important one Platts simply doesn't possess -- experience.

Mike Flannelly has been a practicing attorney since 1983.

That was the year he joined the firm now known as Countess Gilbert Andrews, where he worked for about 10 years before opening his own practice in 1995.

He continued in private practice until he was hired as York County's solicitor in 2004, a position he held until he was appointed to the bench last year after the death of Judge Chuck Patterson.

Platts, on the other hand, has only practiced law for about a year two decades ago.

Sorry, but for this elected position, perhaps more than any other, experience matters. Whoever wins this race will make decisions affecting the lives and livelihoods of York County residents on a daily basis.

It matters.

And those who work in the criminal justice system know that.

During three earlier runs for the bench, Flannelly was ranked at or near the top of the York County Bar Association's member survey to determine the most qualified judicial candidate.

The members again this year overwhelmingly found Flannelly "highly qualified" -- 261 votes to Platts' 13 nods.

Both candidates cross-filed for the primary election -- with Platts taking the Republican nomination and Flannelly the Democratic slot.

Despite his inexperience, Platts has an obvious edge, considering his name-recognition and the GOP's voter registration edge in York County.

Unfortunately, neither of those factors should be a consideration in Tuesday's election.

If people would vote with their heads rather than their hearts, as one letter writer aptly put it, the choice is clear: Flannelly for judge.