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Bevin's Final Options: Recanvass Or Election Contest But No Recount

Gov. Matt Bevin on election night 2019.
Gov. Matt Bevin on election night 2019.

Kentucky has some sorting out to do before inaugurating its next governor.

Democrat Andy Beshear declared victory Tuesday night while Republican Gov. Matt Bevin refused to concede. Results show Bevin trails by more than five-thousand votes.

During a speech to supporters on Tuesday, Bevin claimed that there are "irregularities" to look into but didn't offer specifics.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bevin formally requested a recanvass. University of Kentucky elections law professor Joshua Douglas said he’s doubtful that a recanvass would lead to a different result for Bevin.

“Well I think the 5,000 vote differential out of 1.4 million cast, yeah although 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.

Besides the recanvass, Douglas said Bevin's only other option is an election contest. He says there’s no recount procedure for gubernatorial races under Kentucky law.

Senate President Robert Stivers has floated the possibility of an election contest, which would be settled by the Republican-led legislature.

Douglas says many states have a process for deciding elections that involves the legislature, but it’s rarely used.

The deadline to request an election contest is a month after the State Board of the Elections certifies the results of the race on November 25th.

That means Bevin would be able to request a contest after Beshear's Inauguration Day, which is December 10th.

Kentucky Public Radio's Ryland Barton contributed to this story.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect Bevin's formal request for a recanvass.

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