Editorials: Kentucky Should Eliminate Its Recanvass Process for Close Elections | Joshua A. Douglas/Courier-Journal
Last week, Kentucky witnessed its second statewide recanvass of an election in the past two years. Bernie Sanders asked the state to review the totals in the Democratic primary, which Hillary Clinton won by 1,911 votes. Just as in the Republican gubernatorial primary of 2015, the recanvass yielded no change to the vote totals, confirming Clinton won as announced on Election Night. The state and counties spent money conducting a recanvass that had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election. It is time to do away with this process. Kentucky law contains three possible procedures to contest the results of a close election. The first is a recanvass, in which the counties “recheck and recanvass” the vote totals from the machines, along with any absentee ballots. During a recanvass, counties do not recount individual votes; they instead verify, or retabulate, the count from the machines – in essence, it is like pushing the button again to re-tally the totals. The counties themselves pay for this process, meaning that any candidate who is down by a close margin has virtually nothing to lose by requesting this procedure.