AN ‘ODD’ CHANGE: Election Reform for Kentucky

Written by Andrew Linn on January 5, 2015

This year will see several states have their gubernatorial elections. Kentucky is one of them. In fact, Kentucky will be having an election not only for the office of Governor, but also for its other State Constitutional Officers (Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Auditor, and Commissioner of Agriculture).

But these elections are taking place on an odd-numbered year. And Kentucky’s gubernatorial elections in 2011 had low voter turnout. Although it was partly due to David Williams’ (the Republican candidate for Governor) not being very popular and taking the Republican candidates for the other offices down with him (the exception being James Comer being elected Commissioner of Agriculture), apathy and ignorance also appeared to have played a role.

But regardless of the reasons, I decided to propose moving the gubernatorial election (and the other state Constitutional officer elections) from an odd-numbered year to an even-numbered year. Thus, I plan on proposing legislation for the Kentucky General Assembly regarding this matter (I should point that it has been advocated in the General Assembly before). Such legislation would not only save Kentuckians money, but it would also result in an increase in voter turnout (especially since there would be other elections taking place).

Should such legislation pass and be signed into law, it would immediately apply to this year’s elections, in which anyone who is elected or re-elected would serve five-year terms (thus serving through the year 2020), then their respective offices would revert to four-year terms (hence serving through the year 2024).

I should add that a similar change in Kentucky’s election cycle took place during the 1990s, in which the elections for local and judiciary offices were held on odd-numbered years. Then in 1993, those individuals who were elected (or re-elected) would serve five-year terms. Afterwards, their respective offices reverted to four-year terms. Thus, Kentucky’s election cycle would be like this (starting with the year 1994): mid-term elections (1994), gubernatorial elections (1995), Presidential elections (1996), and no elections (1997).

Kentucky’s officials should have done the same for the gubernatorial elections back then, but for some reason they decided not to. So such an improvement is long overdue.
As for odd-numbered years, they can be reserved for special elections.

Hopefully, such a proposal will become law, and not only save Kentuckians money, but it would also give them a year off from elections (especially if they happen to be election officers, candidates, and those working for/helping out with candidates).

And should this proposal become law, other states that have any elections on odd-numbered years would be wise to follow suit.



Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to and Right Impulse Media.