Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer has formally requested a recanvass of the voting machines and absentee ballots from Tuesday’s primary election. The initial results suggest Comer lost to opponent Matt Bevin by only 83 votes.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has set May 28 as the day county boards of election will recheck and recanvass the voting machines.
A recanvass is administrative procedure where precincts around the state re-tabulate their results and send them to the Secretary of State. The process usually doesn’t yield many more votes—in 2010 Andy Barr requested a recanvass in his attempt to unseat Ben Chandler from his Congressional seat. Barr was down by about fewer than 700 votes and the recanvass yielded only one additional vote.
Still, University of Kentucky election law professor Josh Douglas says that the recanvass could help Comer decide if he wants to pursue a full-fledged recount.
“As long as Bevin’s lead doesn’t increase, if it stays at 83, it won’t surprise me if Comer requests the recount," Douglas states.
Douglas says that a formal recount could show a swing of around 200 votes—well outside the margin of Bevin’s lead.
Comer’s lawyers will be taking an especially close look at the two-thirds of Kentucky counties that use paper ballots and also scrutinizing voter eligibility.