Kentucky Legislature Mulls Declaring Matt Bevin Winner Despite Losing Race
Kentucky’s Republican-controlled state legislature could decide the governor’s race, according to Senate President Robert Stivers.
The Courier Journal reported that Stivers (R-Manchester) said, “There’s less than one-half of 1%, as I understand, separating the governor and the attorney general,” adding that lawmakers “will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine.”
Governor Matt Bevin lost the election to Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, by about 5,100 votes after all the precincts were counted.
Stivers said his staff’s research revealed that a final decision could come down to the legislature.
Bevin has 30 days after the outcome is certified to formally contest the election results under state law, the Courier Journal noted, but the governor would have to “specify the grounds for the action, such as a violation of campaign finance rules or specific problems when it comes to how ballots were cast.”
According to Section 90 of the state constitution: "Contested elections for Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall be determined by both Houses of the General Assembly, according to such regulations as may be established by law."
Sam Marcosson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, told the Courier Journal that there must be procedures established by law that legislators must follow, adding that “They can’t just make them up.”
"If the House and Senate were just to proceed on vague allegations without proof, that raises serious questions about disenfranchisement of the voters who voted for Attorney General Beshear,” Marcosson said. “It’s an extraordinary proposition to suggest that the General Assembly would take vague allegations of unspecified irregularities and call into question a gubernatorial election.”