FRANKLIN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Matt Bevin, who narrowly lost Tuesday election to Attorney General Andy Beshear, announced Wednesday he will seek a recanvass of the results.
“The people of Kentucky deserve a fair and honest election," David Paine, his campaign manager, said in a statement. "With reports of irregularities, we are exercising the right to ensure that every lawful vote was counted.”
On Tuesday night, Bevin refused to concede the race, despite unofficial totals showing he lost to his Democrat rival by slightly more than 5,000. He, too, cited "irregularities," but has not offered any evidence that the vote tally was not accurate.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, whose office is in charge of elections, said she has received the request and said the recanvass will be conducted at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Beshear appeared Wednesday morning in Louisville to announce his transition team. He said the results would hold and that it was time to move forward.
"We hope that Matt Bevin honors the results of the recanvass, which will show he received fewer votes than Andy Beshear," Eric Hyers, a spokesman for Beshear, said in a statement.
Democratic state Sen. Morgan McGarvey warned Bevin against taking the contest a further step and contesting it with the General Assembly.
"Any attempt by Gov. Bevin to undermine these results in the legislature is wrong and should be viewed as a direct attack on the democratic process," McGarvey said in a statement. "As we saw four years ago, when Gov. Bevin won his primary by 83 votes, elections have consequences. Once the recanvass is complete, the General Assembly must accept the outcome of this election and help Governor-elect Beshear prepare for the 2020 budget."
According to an election violations hot line, which is run by Beshear's current office, the agency received 82, most of which involved alleged violations such as electioneering that are unlikely to affect vote outcomes.
LEX 18's Mike Valente reached out to University of Kentucky Professor of Law Joshua Douglas about the significance of the 82 calls and how this compares to prior election years. Douglas responded in an email saying he does not know what Bevin is pointing to regarding the "irregularities" mentioned. Douglas said he believes "it's very dangerous for our democracy for him to make these claims without any evidence whatsoever." The professor also said that 82 calls is "about normal for an election," and that he thought it was a "relatively quiet Election Day."
Douglas is the author of "Vote for US: How to Take Back our Elections and Change the Future of Voting," the co-author of an Election law case book, and the co-editor of Election Law Stories.
During a news conference Bevin held Wednesday at the Governor's Mansion, he alleged that thousands of absentee ballots were illegally counted, but he offered no evidence, just saying that it is "known" and it is something that is "being looked into." He also mentioned reports of people being turned away from "various voting booths around the state."
Bevin claimed that in Jefferson County, a number of machines did not work properly and that "ballots were taken and just put in open boxes, and people were told they'd be scanned in later... They may have been, they may not have been. We truly don't know."
He criticized Grimes' decision to go on CNN election night and announce Beshear had won.
"For her to try and jump the gun on this and interject herself in this, a little suspect," he said of Grimes during the news conference.
He questioned Grimes' credibility, bringing up her gather who was convicted on campaign finance charges.
Bevin's words for his opponent were softer. He said that Beshear should go forward with planning a transition team while this process plays out.
You can watch the news conference below: