Can the Knoxville City Council move city elections to even numbered years, like county elections, without a charter change and a referendum?
Well, maybe. There is a law that allows cities created by a private act of the Legislature to move elections from odd numbered years to even numbered years. The first legal issue is whether a home-rule city like Knoxville could come under such a provision.
The second issue is that the law creates a city election primary at the time of the county general in August and the city general in November, with the presidential election. The county would then be having a spring primary and a general election in August and the city would be having a primary in August and a general in November. The elections would overlap but would not be the same.
It isn't likely Knoxville would want to have a city primary at the same time as a county general election, so it isn't likely they would support such a move. There is a raging argument, given the low turnout in this city election, about making city elections congruent with county elections to save money on election costs and to increase turnout.