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Bevin seeks vote recanvass while Beshear starts transition

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said next week’s recanvass of the vote count in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election won’t be his last move in challenging the results, which showed him more than 5,000 votes behind Democrat Andy Beshear.

Beshear, meanwhile, said he’s confident in the election outcome and is focused on taking office as governor in December. And some prominent Kentucky Republicans have begun calling on Beshear to concede.

“Whatever process that the governor chooses to go down, it’s not going to change this overall number of votes,” Beshear said at a news conference Wednesday. “We are going to take the steps to move forward to make sure that we are ready … on the day that we’re inaugurated.”

Beshear led by less than 0.4 percentage points in Tuesday night’s count of more than 1.4 million votes, which would trigger a recount in most states. Kentucky doesn’t have a mandatory recount law, but Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has scheduled a recanvass for Nov. 14 to ensure the vote count was added correctly.

Bevin said late Wednesday in Frankfort that his team is gathering evidence of what he’s calling “irregularities” in the voting. The governor claimed that thousands of absentee ballots may have been illegally counted, and suggested that people may have been improperly turned away from the polls. He offered no specifics, and said such claims need corroboration.

“We’re in the process of getting affidavits and other information that will help us to get a better understanding of what did or did not happen,” he said. Bevin added that any information turned up won’t be “followed through on” until after the recanvass — an indication he could seek further review of the election results.

Beshear’s campaign responded with a statement repeating that he hopes Bevin honors the results. The campaign noted that a recanvass has never led to a reversal of an election result in Kentucky. “I don’t know what information he’s working off of,” Beshear said earlier Wednesday, when asked about Bevin’s claim of “irregularities.”

The Associated Press has not declared a winner, in keeping with its policy not to call races that could go to a recount.