On The Floor

Election bill passes senate, could save counties millions

A bill to change state office elections to even numbered years moves to the House.

Senate advances bill to change election dates

FRANKFORT – Legislation that would move the election of Kentucky’s governor and other statewide officers to even-numbered years passed the state Senate Thursday by a 24-11 vote.

Senate Bill 4 sponsor Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said the legislation would save about $15.5 million in taxpayer money, triple voter turnout in downballot races and simplify the election system by aligning Kentucky’s election cycle with presidential elections.

McDaniel said it is at least the fifth session a bill to change Kentucky’s election cycle has been filed in the last decade.

“While it might have a little bit of a different number every time we see it, the principles remain the same,” he said in reference to the different bill numbers the legislation has been assigned over the years.

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, spoke against the bill. He said SB 4 would blur the line between state and federal issues.

“I don’t think we should confuse who is running for president ... with who is going to be our governor,” Thomas said. “This bill goes the wrong direction. 

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, stood to explain his vote in favor of the SB 4.

“There was a gentleman named Charles de Gaulle who said, ‘Politics is too serious of a matter to be left to politicians.’ Let’s let the people decide what they want for a change.”

Since SB 4 is a constitutional amendment, the legislation will require a supermajority in the state House before it could be placed on the ballot in November to be decided upon by the people.

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