Governor Matt Bevin is formally asking for an official recanvass of Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, which vote totals showed Democrat Andy Beshear as winning by just over 5,000 votes. A recanvass is a double-checking of the vote totals and rarely produces different results.
In a statement, Bevin’s campaign manager Davis Paine said: “The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election. With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted.”
Bevin and his campaign have provided no details about election irregularities they say took place during the race.
As of Wednesday, the number of election law complaints reported to the attorney general’s office was on par with those made in 2015.
University of Kentucky election law professor Joshua Douglas said other than a recanvass, Bevin’s only other option is contesting the election, which would be settled by the Republican-led legislature. Kentucky law has no provision for a recount in gubernatorial races. But Douglas was skeptical a recanvass would make much difference for Bevin.
“Well I think the 5,000 vote differential out of 1.4 million cast, yeah although it sounds small is actually a pretty large amount when it comes to the likelihood of the vote totals changing in any of these post-election disputes,” Douglas said.
Bevin currently trails Beshear by 5,189 votes.
Recanvasses are commonly requested in close races in Kentucky, but they have never produced a different election outcome and rarely produce a different vote total.
In 2015, Bevin’s opponent in the Republican Primary James Comer requested a recanvass of the contest that Bevin won by 83 votes, producing no change in vote totals.
In 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders requested a recanvass in Kentucky’s Democratic primary. The process yielded 13 more votes for Sanders.
In a statement, Beshear campaign manager Sam Newton expressed hope the recanvass would be the last step in the process.
“Last night, the people of Kentucky elected Andy Beshear as their next governor. Today, Governor-Elect Beshear is already working on his transition so that he can best serve the people of Kentucky on day one,” Newton said.
“We hope that Matt Bevin honors the results of the recanvass, which will show he received fewer votes than Andy Beshear. As has been reported, a ‘recanvassing has never changed the result of a Kentucky election.’”
The recanvass will take place on November 14th at 9 a.m.
This post has been updated.