Lexington law professor weighs in on the process one day ahead of recanvass
The race for the Kentucky governor’s seat has been a contentious one from the beginning. And, the controversy continues through the end with a total of about 5,000 votes separating Governor Matt Bevin and Governor-Elect Andy Beshear.
It’s a number too close for comfort for Bevin, who, the day after the election, requested a recanvass citing voting irregularities that have yet to be proven.
Due to that, county clerks will convene Thursday morning at 9 a.m. to double-check vote totals. It's expected to take a couple of hours for all 120 counties to report their numbers back to the Secretary of State's Office.
"At that point, assuming Governor Bevin is down by 5,000 or whatever he's down by, he would have the option to contest the election in the Legislature," University of Kentucky Professor of Law Joshua Douglas said.
Governor Bevin could either contest, a process that could continue into 2020, or concede. It’s a choice that the governor doesn't seem to have made any decision about right now.
"I'm not at this point,” Governor Bevin said. “I have to figure out, let’s take it one day at a time."
Just looking at where we stand in the post-election process now, it’s already a rare occurrence. In Kentucky, it's only happened once before, 120 years ago in 1899.
Though it's not the recanvass that has Douglas concerned. He believes the unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud behind the request is the real danger.
"Our democracy depends on the loser granting the winner the power to have a peaceful transfer of office,” Douglas said. “It gets concerning when the losing candidate starts to peddle these theories without having any evidence behind them."
Granting the winner the power is something Governor Bevin said Wednesday he would be the first to do, though it's unclear how far this process will go before that happens.
"So if in fact that is corroborated, held up by what we determine through this process, then I'll be his number one cheerleader because we want this state to move forward," Bevin said.