Many county and town elections will move to even-numbered years under legislation signed Friday afternoon by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The bill was supported by Democrats and several government groups, but opposed by the state Association of Counties and many Republican lawmakers.

In a statement, Hochul said the move will increase voter participation in local elections by aligning them with the timing of state and federal races.

“By signing this legislation, we are taking a significant step towards expanding access to the ballot box and promoting a more inclusive democracy," Hochul said. "This is a meaningful first step and I would support a constitutional amendment to align all election years, to save taxpayer dollars and avoid voter fatigue.”

The change does not apply to city or village elections, and races for county clerk, sheriff, district attorneys, local judges and others protected in the state Constitution to be held in odd-numbered years.

But Hochul on Friday also announced support for a future constitutional amendment that would align elections for all offices.

Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, released a statement in response.

"At a time when we should be keeping the divisiveness at the federal and state levels out of our local communities, this bill does the opposite, burying the local issues that impact New Yorkers’ daily lives at the back of exceedingly long ballots," Acquario said.

Presidential election years show an 18% increase in voter turnout, according to the Pew Research Center. Gubernatorial races net the second-highest participation from voters.

Democrats say moving the elections for town supervisor, county executive and other local posts to even-numbered years will increase voter turnout. Bill sponsor Sen. James Skoufis said Friday the change will more than double turnout in local races, save taxpayer dollars and begin to streamline elections in the state.

The measure was also supported by Reinvent Albany, Common Cause and several other civic groups.

But Rockland County Executive Ed Day criticized the governor for signing the bill, saying it will result in local races being overshadowed by state and federal elections.