Constitutional amendment would move gubernatorial elections to even numbered years
01/12/2017 05:15 PM
FRANKFORT – Kentucky voters could decide at the polls in 2018 if they want to move the gubernatorial and constitutional officers election year from the current odd year to a even year cycle if a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, gains the approval of the General Assembly this session.
McDaniel says that his bill, SB52, will save the state money and increase voter turnout.
“It saves the commonwealth and the counties about $18 million every four years and so, there’s no reason not to do this common sense constitutional amendment,” McDaniel said.
Under the proposal, the winners of the 2019 elections would serve 5 year terms before the new even-year gubernatorial cycle would begin in 2024.
“This is a nonpartisan issue,” McDaniel said. “I’ve put this out there when the Democrats were winning all of the constitutional offices and I’ll continue to put it out there if Republicans win or Democrats win. It doesn’t really matter to me. All I want to do is have increased voter participation and save money.”
Williamstown attorney and former Democratic congressional candidate Bill Adkins agrees that moving the elections would save the state money, but he would like to see it moved to the opposite two-year cycle.
“The statewide and constitutional offices might be, those elections would take place in the mid-term election,” Adkins said. “You have your every two-year cycle anyway with your House of Representatives, you’ve also got to worry about your state representatives every two years.”
Adkins says one concern with moving the election from the odd numbered years is overwhelming the voters with issues some years, and inviting more out of state money to filter into the governors race.
“I am concerned about people being able to focus on the issues because that ballot could be seven pages long,” Adkins said. “We’ve also got to be concerned with the fact you have state elections, state issues, state personalities to consider. Consider what happens in an election year. All that out of state money. For a while there, I ran for Congress a few years ago and Texas was buying the state.”
McDaniel admits that he’s gotten a lot of favorable feedback from both sides of the aisle but he’s also heard concerns from legislators on both sides.
“I’ve gotten a little opposition from folks who like the fact that those are in odd numbered years and they don’t have to put their own seats at risk by running in an even numbered year,” McDaniel said. “My thought is, we’re not here for careers, we’re here to serve for a time period and go back home, and if the voters choose to send you home, or anyone home in an election, than that’s just the way it is.”
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