Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Elections Legislation in Kentucky

Now this is a piece of legislation I can fully support.

Due to various vagaries of the Commonwealth's Constitution, we apparently have elections 3 out of every 4 years in the election cycle. Senator Chris McDaniel has proposed a constitutional amendment that would move the election of "constitutional officers" (Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, etc.) onto the same cycle as the Presidential elections.

Why can I support this?

From the article at the Cincinnati Enquirer:
By combining the statewide office elections with the presidential elections, Kentucky would only have elections on even years. This would save the state $4 million to $5 million dollars in the odd years and save even more for local governments, McDaniel said.
The county clerks from Boone and Campbell counties said adding the state constitutional offices to the presidential election ballot would save money without causing difficulties.
The major costs associated with conducting an election are primarily labor-related. The counties have to pay the poll workers, get the machines out and set up, and collect everything at the end of the day. Those are all fixed costs. If the commonwealth can completely remove one election day from the cycle, I really don't see any downside.

I hope that it would also increase voter turnout in non-Presidential years. Voting is not an overly onerous or difficult task, but it's easy to get tired-head when it feels like there's political ads up every single year.

The one hangup? It would extend the term of all the current constitutional officers by one year. I can see someone arguing that this is just another conspiracy theory to protect some elected official. But really, the only other choice is push it out a full cycle, shorten that term, and then elect on a four-year term again. That's just asking for a lot of confusion. I think adding one year to the existing term to align the cycles is cleaner.

Also, it requires a constitutional amendment. That's not a bad thing, but I can't say that I trust the legislature to do the right thing. That being said, I'm hopeful for this one. I really don't see a downside to it at all, and it should easily pass the 60% threshold to be put on next year's ballot.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)


  1. Hopefully they DO this! $$ are getting harder and harder to find, and leaving $4-5M on the table is NOT a good idea!