Republican incumbent Bevin requests recanvass in Kentucky gubernatorial race

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) is asking the state’s top elections official for a recanvass of vote totals after they showed him losing his reelection bid to Democrat Andy Beshear.

Bevin made the request in a letter to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) on Wednesday. In a statement, his campaign manager Davis Paine reiterated Bevin’s previous claim that there were signs of unspecified “irregularities” in Tuesday’s vote.

“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,” Paine said in a statement.

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The request came a day after Beshear, Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general, appeared to edge out Bevin in the state’s closely watched governor’s race.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Beshear led Bevin by about 5,100 votes, or a margin of about 0.4 percentage points.

In brief remarks to supporters on Tuesday night, Bevin refused to concede the race to Beshear, claiming without evidence that there had “been more than a few irregularities” in the election. It’s still unclear what Bevin is referring to and his campaign has yet to provide details on the claims.

Bevin’s refusal to concede immediately prompted speculation that he could seek to dispute the election results.

Under Kentucky law, a candidate has a week from Election Day to file a request for recanvassing with the secretary of state. If recanvassing is ordered, county election officials will recheck the figures from voting machines and report their findings to the county clerk.

In this scenario, ballots aren’t recounted; election officials would simply review vote totals to make sure that their initial figures weren’t misrepresented in reporting.

The Kentucky State Board of Elections is currently scheduled to meet on Nov. 21 to certify the election results. The recanvass should be finished by Nov. 14 and is not expected to delay the certification process, a board of elections official told The Hill. The official noted that it is “highly unlikely that the recanvass will show anything other than the totals that were already posted or went.”

If the recanvass does not turn up enough votes to change the outcome of the election, Bevin could choose to petition for a recount. That would have to happen within 10 days of the election.

The challenger — likely Bevin, in this case — would have to pay the cost of that recount.

Bevin could also move to contest the election results. That would require him to specify a reason for doing so — such as voting improprieties or another “corrupt practice.” Kentucky’s Republican-controlled state legislature would then review the election.

—Updated at 4:07 p.m.