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Republicans urge Bevin to provide proof of election fraud or concede

Daniel Desrochers, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in News & Features

"It is the governor's prerogative to request recanvassing or file an application to contest the election, both of which will have a very high bar to succeed," Stivers said. "If such a situation arises when the Senate's involvement is required as prescribed by the Kentucky Constitution, our chamber will fulfill its requirements with the upmost objectivity and impartiality."

Should Bevin contest the election, the legislature would form a randomly selected committee of eight representatives and three senators. The committee would look at any evidence of irregularities and make a report, which would be presented to a joint session of the legislature for a vote.

Although Republican lawmakers were skeptical of an election contest, many said they were fine with Bevin's decision to request a recanvass.

"There's nothing wrong with checking the math," said GOP Rep. Adam Koenig. "Unless there is a mountain of clear, unambiguous evidence, then he should let it go."

It is common for candidates to request a recanvass in close races -- the governor's election was decided by 0.36 percentage points -- but they rarely result in major changes.

"I've never seen a recanvass move more than 100 votes, so it's really doubtful that it will move," said GOP Rep. Jerry Miller.

The loser in a governor's race cannot request a recount -- state law provides a process for recounts in all elections except those for governor, lieutenant governor and the General Assembly. That means the only way a recount could happen is if Bevin files an election contest and the legislature orders a recount as part of the resulting investigation.

To file an election contest, Bevin would need proof of fraud. So far, he has provided none.


"The proof isn't that people were turned away, the proof is that you have to show fraud or irregularities," Nemes said. "You can't just go on a fishing expedition at this point, there hasn't even been evidence of specific fraud."

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a Republican, said it was "premature" for people to be talking about a potential contesting of the election. He is "keeping his powder dry."

"I believe members of the General Assembly should refrain from commenting because if there is one, we would be jurors," Thayer said.

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