Here are Matt Bevin's options for appealing his election loss to Andy Beshear

Posted at 2:07 AM, Nov 06, 2019

CINCINNATI — Gov. Matt Bevin should know as well as anyone what his options are in trying to overturn Tuesday's .036% loss to Andy Beshear in the Kentucky governor's election.

Bevin's opponent lost a recanvassing challenge of the 2015 vote in the Republican primary.

The three options under Kentucky law - a recanvass, a recount, and an election contest - are fully explained in an article on the University of Kentucky Election Law Society website by Professor Joshua A. Douglas, Thomas E. Travis and Claire Nerenz.

Here's a summary:


A candidate has a week from Election Day to file a request for recanvassing with the Secretary of State - in this case, a Democrat, Alison Lundergan Grimes. Grimes already declared Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear the winner of Tuesday night's count.

In a recanvassing, county election boards recheck each machine and report the figure back to the county clerk to make sure that the numbers reported to the State Board of Elections were not misreported or incorrectly added. In 2015, Bevin's opponent in the Republican gubernatorial primary got a recanvass, but it changed only one vote and did not erase Bevin’s 83-vote lead.

Grimes has overseen 20-plus recanvasses as secretary of state, her office said. The results never flipped a race's outcome.


There is no automatic recount process in Kentucky. Instead, a challenger must petition the Franklin Circuit Court within 10 days and agree to pay the entire cost of the recount. A judge would take possession of the voting machines and paper ballots and conduct his or her own recount. The judge’s decision would be final, subject to appeal to the Kentucky Court of Appeals or the Kentucky Supreme Court.


The challenger must specify the grounds for the action – such as voting corruption or issues with the vote casting process.

Bevin has 30 days to formally contest the outcome once it's certified by the State Board of Elections. The board is scheduled to meet Nov. 21. Kentucky's last contested governor's race was in 1899.

While a recanvass is completed quickly, a recount or election contest can last several weeks.