FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky could soon elect statewide officers in even-numbered years under a proposal that received unanimous support from a Senate committee Wednesday.
Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to change when Kentuckians vote for the offices of governor, attorney general, treasurer, auditor, secretary of state and agriculture commissioner.
Instead of having the elections in odd-numbered years, the elections would be held during even-numbered years, the same year as the presidential election.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, sponsors the bill. He said it costs Kentucky $3.5 million to conduct elections during off-years, and local governments have to spend millions on them as well.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the bill would also give an incoming governor more time to draft his budget proposal.
The general assembly is required to draft a budget every two years in even-numbered years.
“With this new governor, this is the fifth governor that I have served with, and I have watched Democrats and Republicans come in, new, and have to have a budget to us six weeks later,” Thayer said. “If you switch this, it will give a newly-elected governor a whole year to live under a budget passed by his or her predecessor, passed by the general assembly, and a year to get his or her cabinet set and prepare priorities going forward.”
Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, signed off on the bill Wednesday but said he’d like to see the perceived savings from the bill to go towards extending voting hours.
The proposal needs a three-fifths majority from both chambers before it goes to voters. If approved by a simple majority of those voting on the question, it would take effect with the 2028 election.