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Kentucky's 120 Counties Prepare to Recanvass Results of Gubernatorial Race

Joseph Lord

All county boards of elections in Kentucky will convene Thursday morning to recanvass the results of the governor’s race. 

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear claimed victory over Governor Matt Bevin in the Nov. 5 election, with unofficial results showing Beshear with a 5,189-vote lead statewide.  Bevin refused to concede the race, citing “irregularities,” which have been unsubstantiated.  

The purpose of a recanvass is to verify the accuracy of the vote totals reported from voting machines.  Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she doesn’t believe the difference in the vote can be made up by Bevin.

“Based on my numerous recanvasses that I’ve had a history with over the past eight years, I’ve never encountered a recanvass that ever resulted in the outcome of an election being altered," Grimes told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky's Election Day hotline received more than 120 calls, but Grimes says the complaints weren’t out of the ordinary.

“Of those approximately 100 calls, I’m not aware of any complaint that’s been registered that would cause the change of over approximately 5,000 votes," she stated.

Each candidate and both political parties are allowed to have a representative present at the recanvass locations throughout the state. 

The last statewide recanvass of a Kentucky election took place in 2016 in the Democratic presidential primary at the request of Bernie Sanders. The margin was fewer than 2,000 votes and the recanvass didn’t change the outcome of the election. 

Governor Bevin could also contest the election with the state legislature, though GOP leaders have shown no appetite for a lengthy challenge, encouraging Bevin instead to accept the results of the recanvass.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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