Secretary of State
Secretary Grimes Prepared for Potential Recanvass in Close Election

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, May 20, 2015  
Contact Information:  Lynn Sowards Zellen
Director of Communications
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
(502) 330-9839

In the wake of the May 19 Republican Gubernatorial Primary Election, in which Matt Bevin and James Comer are currently separated by only 83 votes, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official, is prepared to implement procedures for a recanvass in the event one is requested.


“Both candidates and the public are entitled to confidence in election results, and I stand ready to facilitate any proceedings necessary to provide those assurances,” said Grimes. “My office is prepared and will continue to provide updates regarding any recanvass requests we receive and the procedures being followed.”


To obtain a recanvass in a statewide election, a candidate must submit a written request to the Secretary of State’s office no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on May 26. The request may be limited to certain precincts or counties or seek a statewide recanvass, and the Secretary of State’s Office will communicate the request to all county boards of elections involved.


Pursuant to Kentucky law, the county boards of elections for the counties in which a recanvass was requested will convene at 9 a.m. on May 28 to recheck and recanvass each voting machine and make a return to the county clerk, which shall become the official return for the county.


Each candidate and both political parties are entitled to have a representative present at the recanvass. In addition, the county board of elections shall authorize members of the media to observe.


The purpose of a recanvass is to verify the accuracy of the vote totals reported from the voting machines. The method for conducting the recanvass depends on the type of voting machine and is set forth in an administrative regulation, 31 KAR 4:070. No voting machines are unlocked during the recanvass. If there was an error in the original canvass, the returns shall be corrected. The county board of elections must file its recanvass report with the Secretary of State immediately upon completion of the recanvass.


On May 11, the Secretary of State’s office distributed to all county clerks vote total certification forms and a memorandum with the procedures and forms to be used in the event a recanvass is requested.


Since January 2011, the Secretary of State’s office has received five recanvass requests – three for legislative offices and two for judicial offices. The recanvass results did not change the outcome of those elections. The last statewide recanvass occurred in the 2011 Republican Primary for the office of Secretary of State between Bill Johnson and Hilda Legg. The recanvass resulted in a change of 6 votes in favor of Hilda Legg, the losing candidate, but did not change the outcome of the election.


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