FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers are renewing a push to do away with odd-numbered year elections. Senate Bill 10 would move elections of statewide officers to even-numbered years, corresponding with the presidential election.

What You Need To Know

  • Senate Bill 10 was passed through the Senate Local and State Government Committee 7-1 

  • SB 10 would move elections of Kentucky statewide constitutional officers to even-numbered years, corresponding with presidential elections 

  • State Sen. Chris McDaniel said this would increase turnout while saving the state money

  • McDaniel has sponsored this legislation eight other times; it failed to get a reading in the House in 2020

SB 10 cleared its first legislative hurdle, passing the Senate Local and State Government Committee 7-1 Wednesday in a vote along party lines. Supporters have said that by moving the election of governor and other statewide offices to even-numbered years, voter turnout will see an increase and save clerk’s offices money.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R-Ryland Heights) bill, SB 10 would see Kentuckians vote for governor, attorney general and other statewide offices in even-numbered years following the 2027 election. It’s similar to a move the state did in the 1990s with local offices. McDaniel said even-numbered years see higher turnout than their odd number counterparts.

“You have increased voter participation in those even year elections; obviously president, United States Senate, United States Congress all drive more interest, even though I’d argue the more local people [have more impact] on someone’s day-to-day life," McDaniel said.

Starting in 2032, statewide offices would be voted on every four years. McDaniel said doing so would save the state and municipalities money.

“It saves the state roughly $2 million and then localities, give or take, $15 million because counties actually bear the majority of costs to running an election," McDaniel said.

McDaniel has sponsored this amendment proposal eight times. His last attempt in 2020 passed the Senate but died in the House.

“We’ve got folks [in the House] who probably share more of my concern about voter participation and financial issues," McDaniel said.

If it passes the legislative process, SB 10 would then be presented to voters for approval. Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, is cosponsoring the bill and said it's clear Kentucky voters are fatigued by having an election three out of every four years. Voter turnout in 2023 was 38% for the November general election.

“There was more money spent on the campaign for governor this year than any statewide campaign for constitutional office in Kentucky history," Thayer said. "I think the people are voting with their feet by staying home."

Opponents of the measure point to 1851, the first year constitutional offices were elected in an odd year. State Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-Louisville, said framers of the 1851 constitution spoke to the importance of having an election focused solely on Kentucky issues.

“I think that the need for that has only increased over time," Armstrong said. "Nowadays, with national division, with presidential elections lasting for years, I think it’s important the people of Kentucky have space."

McDaniel said Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's victory over Daniel Cameron last November had no impact on him choosing to file the bill this session.