Double-check; Students voice opinions on Bevin recanvassing effort

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Jack Dobbs

Following a close race against Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin has called for a recanvassing in order to sort out any “irregularities” in the election results. After the election, Bevin trailed Beshear by about 5,000 votes. 

The recanvass will take place on Thursday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced in a tweet last week. 

A recanvass simply “double checks the math” of the polls in each precinct, Scott Lasley, department head for political science at WKU, said. A recanvass is different from a recount, which would recount each ballot, and Bevin’s team would have to pay for it. Bevin will not have to pay for the recanvass to take place, which will be done by the secretary of state’s office. 

Even though Bevin refused to concede, Robert Bright, president of the WKU Young Democrats, said he and his organization were pleased with the election results. 

“I think we saw a huge referendum on conservative policies across the nation, notably here in Kentucky and in Virginia,” Bright said. 

Bright said the election came as a rejection of “bullying and hate” that was directed toward public employees. Bright said he feels the recanvassing is a “last-ditch effort” by Bevin. 

“He knows, just as Secretary of State Alison Grimes pointed out, there has never been a recanvassing effort that changed the results,” Bright said. “This will not alter the election whatsoever.” 

In 2015, Bevin was challenged in the Republican primary election by James Comer. After Bevin won the Republican nomination by 83 votes, Comer requested a recanvass. The 2015 recanvass did not result in a change to the election results.

Bright drew similarities between the 2015 recanvass and the current situation.

“Whenever elections come this close, there’s always a small glimmer of hope to the defeated,” Bright said.

Bright said he does not believe voter fraud took place in the election, since Republicans won in every cabinet race.

Ian Hamilton, former president of the WKU Young Republicans, said he understands why the recanvassing is taking place, since one took place in 2015.

Even though a recanvass will take place, Hamilton said it is pretty “decisive” that Beshear won the race for governor.

“I don’t know if that’s necessarily something I would have done in his position,” Hamilton said. “I respect the decision, but I don’t think the outcome is going to change.”

Hamilton said he noticed a higher voter turnout for this election than there was in 2015. 1,442,390 Kentuckians voted in Tuesday’s election. In Warren county, 35,925 ballots were cast, according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections.

“Just overall interest, talking to people — people I would never speak to politics about — talking about how they’re excited about this election and exercising their right to vote, and that just makes me excited or the future,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton thinks this election will have an impact on President Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential race. He said since everyone thought Bevin’s endorsement from Trump would help Bevin carry the vote, Trump will have to focus on different things, especially interacting with people.

Stephen Hillenmeyer, a member of the College Republicans at WKU, said he does not think any change will come from the recanvass.

“There’s a slim to none chance that it has any impact on anything,” Hillenmeyer said. “[Bevin] talked about some fraud that could’ve been involved but then he didn’t really say what that could have been, so I don’t think the recanvassing will do a whole lot.”

Students outside of the political organizations are also discussing the recanvass. Lanse Milburn, a sophomore from Mount Washington, said he thinks the recanvass is a misstep for Bevin.

“I think it’s a bit embarrassing for Bevin since I feel like he knows he lost a race he should have done way better in,” Milburn said. “I don’t think it’ll overturn anything, and I think if he doesn’t give up after this Thursday he’ll just be making a fool of himself and encouraging dangerous opinions about democracy and its integrity.”

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @jackrdobbs.