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Bevin Bows Out, But Not Without Leaving Doubts About Election Transparency

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin officially ended his run for re-election Thursday, conceding the close contest to his long-standing Democratic rival, Attorney General Andy Beshear. But the outgoing Republican didn't leave the podium without sounding alarm bells about election security and transparency.

Bevin had shown signs he might be gearing up for a formal contest of the election results, tweeting Wednesday about a news conference held by two supporters calling themselves the Center for Election Integrity. That meeting, which promised evidence of voting irregularities, produced no proof of any intentional wrongdoing by officials or hackers. 

In his concession speech in front of the governor's office, Bevin wished Beshear well in his new role, applauded workers in his administration for maintaining a strong work ethic, and added that,"What I want is to see the absolute best for Kentucky. I’m not going to contest these numbers that have come in. It isn’t fair to throw that on the legislature to find something that just isn’t.”

Yet the GOP leader maintained some absentee ballots weren’t tabulated correctly and could have resulted vote swings in the hundreds or even thousands. He said it’s vital the next administration ensure, "that the ways we tabulate votes are accurate, that there is recourse to be able to determine what was or was not cast... these things, not only in Kentucky, (are) bigger than this one race, state, or year, this is an issue for America to take very seriously."

Critics had feared Kentucky could be a test case for a close presidential race in 2020 if Bevin pressed forward with a formal contest of the results, which left him 5,136 votes short.

Asked if concerns raised about the election, in part fueled by the governor's comments regarding "irregularities," have eroded trust in the system, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said the consistent numbers between election night and the recanvass should give Kentuckians confidence in the vote. She described the task ahead as "continuing to battle misinformation and disinformation."

The recanvass changed only one vote in the official tally – an uncounted write-in vote in Casey County.

Beshear will be inaugurated on December 10.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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