LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is asking for a recanvass after saying there were multiple reports of voting irregularities.
Following Wednesday’s news conference at which Bevin outlined a few of what he said were irregularities, several lawmakers told WAVE 3 News that when a race is as close as the Kentucky governor’s race was, asking for a recanvass to double check the vote totals makes sense.
But, even some Republicans said Bevin should produce serious evidence or move on.
After election totals of about 5,000 votes favored Democratic challenger and Attorney General Andy Beshear, Bevin announced Tuesday night he would not concede, and said of the election results, “We know for a fact there have been more than a few irregularities.”
The claim came from Bevin right after every other GOP candidate on the ticket scored major re-election victories.
Bevin’s claims left supporters and non-supporters alike wondering what he was talking about.
Wednesday, he alleged people were turned away from the polls in Jefferson County and ballots were put into a boxes at multiple locations.
“I’m a lawyer and I’m a legislator and we deal in proof,” said Kentucky Rep. Jason Nemes, who represents both Jefferson and Oldham counties. “We don’t deal in anecdotes, we don’t deal in allegations.”
Nemes said he wished the election had turned out differently and believes the governor should have a recanvass because it was a close race, but tweeted post-election that one of the most important things in a democracy is loser’s consent.
“If you don’t have widespread proof of significant fraud, then you need to concede and we need to move on as a Commonwealth of Kentucky,” he said.
Bevin’s own 2015 GOP primary win of just 83 votes over James Comer was the subject of a recanvass of vote totals, but when the numbers came back exactly the same, Comer did not ask for a more detailed recount of each vote.
On Wednesday, Bevin listed specific issues he thought could impact results.
“We know that in Jefferson County there were a number of machines that did not work properly,” he said. “So, ballots were taken and just put into open boxes, and people were told they would be scanned in later. They may have been. They may have not of been. We truly don’t know.”
WAVE 3 News asked Jefferson County Clerk spokesman Nore Ghibaudy about Bevin’s claims. He said the vote went extremely smoothly in Jefferson County. The box he believes Bevin is referring to is a box attached to the voting machine scanner that’s only used if a ballot gets caught in the machine. In such cases, elections officers from both parties are called over to witness as the ballot goes into the box and is counted later.
Ghibaudy said ballots were scanned, adding that if a machine was down, the box ballots were held in was secure.
“There is a slot next to that that is locked,” he said. “Those ballots are dropped into that slot. Then, once the machine is operational, we both have Republicans and Democrats there. They stand together and they scan those ballots.”
Two other claims Bevin made were that thousands of absentee ballots were counted illegally across the state, and people were turned away from polling places.
Ghibaudy said he can account for absentee ballots counted in Jefferson County.
“Well, we’ve been doing it very thoroughly here in Jefferson County for a great length of time,” Ghibaudy said. “I know that they’re verified. I know that they’re checked.”
WAVE 3 News asked Ghibaudy if he heard any talk going around the state about election problems elsewhere.
“No,” he said. “I think people were just getting out and casting their vote.”
As far as Jefferson County is concerned, Ghibaudy said the only hiccup was a temporary lockdown at Bowen Elementary School because there was an armed person in the area, and voting time was extended 45 minutes.
“It gave them the opportunity to go back in and cast their ballots, so everybody got to vote,” Ghibaudy said.
Otherwise, Ghibaudy described it all as a typical election day, nothing out of the ordinary.
Nemes said the worst thing that could happen is moving the election results into the Kentucky General Assembly and dragging it out. Senate President Robert Stivers said after the election that that could happen. But Wednesday, Noah Lucas, the Director for the Senate Majority, said Stivers was simply explaining the entire process, but was not saying it would go that far.