Kentucky State Senate passes its first bill of 2019—a 2020 ballot measure to move state executive elections to presidential election years

On January 10, 2019, the Kentucky State Senate approved a constitutional amendment to change the election date for state executive officials from odd-numbered years to even-numbered presidential election years beginning in 2028. The vote was 31-4. Senate Republicans supported the amendment, while Democrats were divided 4-4. The constitutional amendment needs 60 votes in the state House, assuming no vacancies, to make the ballot on November 3, 2020.
 
The following offices would have their elections moved from odd-numbered to even-numbered years: governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, secretary of state, and commissioner of agriculture. The last election for state executive officials in Kentucky was November 3, 2015. The next election is scheduled for November 5, 2019. The measure would make the election on November 7, 2023, the last to be held in an odd-numbered year. Officials elected in 2023 would serve a five-year term, rather than a four-year term, until officials elected on November 7, 2028, were seated.
 
Sen. Christian McDaniel (R), who is sponsoring the amendment, said moving the election date would save the state about $15 million. Sen. Wil Schroder (D), one of the Democrats who voted for the amendment, said he believed that the move would double voter turnout in state executive races. Sen. Robin Webb (D) voted against the amendment, saying, “Kentucky needs to be allowed to focus on Kentucky issues and set aside the national fray… that sometimes are not as relatable to the Commonwealth and its issues and its people.” At the past five presidential elections, Kentucky voted for the Republican presidential candidate. At the state’s past five gubernatorial elections, the Democratic candidate won three of the elections and the Republican candidate won the other two.
 
As of 2019, 11 states held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered presidential elections and 36 states held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered midterm elections. New Hampshire and Vermont held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered presidential elections and midterm elections because their gubernatorial term lengths are two years. Kentucky was one of five states that held their gubernatorial elections during odd-numbered years. The other four states are Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia.
 



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Ryan Byrne

Ryan Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at ryan.byrne@ballotpedia.org

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