Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bill to change election cycles moves to House

A bill that would move the governor’s race to even-numbered years passed out of the state Senate Tuesday by a 28-9 vote. Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, voted no.

State Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, who introduced the legislation, known as Senate Bill 10, said it would increase voter turnout by aligning state elections with federal elections. He said voter turnout in Kentucky is usually 20 percent higher in even-numbered years when there are federal elections.

“This measure carries with it many benefits but chief among them is what it does and what it means to our democracy,” McDaniel said. “The death of our democracy is not likely be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and undernourishment.”

McDaniel said SB 10 would also save Kentucky $3.5 million and its 120 counties more than $14 million every four years by consolidating the dates elections are held. That translate to $603,000 in saving for Kenton County, $173,000 in saving for Pike County, $45,000 saving for Clay County and $1.3 million in saving for Jefferson County.

State Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, explained her vote against SB 10. She said saving money on elections doesn’t strengthen democracy or increase citizen involvement. “I think anything that suppresses voters, or suppresses elections, or the disengagement of the populous isn’t good for democracy,” Webb said. “Therefore, I vote no.”

If SB 10 passes the state House of Representatives, it would still require a vote of the people since it’s in the form of a constitutional amendment.