Sanders campaign contests Kentucky primary: Bernie calls for a county-by-county review of votes

Sanders calls for a review of the electronic voting machines -- a first step before requesting a full recount

By Sophia Tesfaye
May 24, 2016 9:48PM (UTC)
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Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Bernie Sanders' campaign called for a review of Kentucky's Democratic presidential primary results on Tuesday. This is the first such challenge of election results during this cycle's Democratic presidential primary.

At issue, says the Sanders campaign, are the electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from some of the Bluegrass State's 120 counties.


One week ago, Sanders narrowly lost the closely contested primary by 1,924 votes to Hillary Clinton, who led with 212,550 votes compared to Sanders' 210,626 votes.

The campaign asserts the final result was a virtual tie, with both candidates splitting an even number of pledged delegates. But because one final pledge delegate is awarded to the winner of the popular vote in one particular county, the Sanders campaign's call for a review of the final vote totals might net the Vermont senator one more additional delegate than Clinton received from Kentucky.

The sole remaining delegate is from the Sixth Congressional District, where Clinton leads Sanders leads by about 500 votes, according to a tally by the Associated Press.


On Tuesday, Sanders signed a letter to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Clinton supporter, asking for a county-by-county review of the vote totals reported from electronic voting machines. Kentucky state law allows for recanvassing only if a county clerk or a county board of elections notices a discrepancy or if a candidate makes a written request to the secretary of state:

A recanvass can be considered the first step in calling for a recount of the vote. Grimes tweeted that the recanvass will begin tomorrow. Under state law, the Sanders campaign then has until the next day to ask a Kentucky judge to order a recount.

The delegates representing Kentucky will be elected June 4 at the state Democratic Convention.


Clinton still leads Sanders in the overall pledged delegates, 1,771 to 1,491. If Sanders were successful in putting Kentucky in his win column, however, his campaign would be able to boast that they've won 25 states going into the June 4 California primary.

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Democratic Primary Bernie Sanders Election 2016 Elections 2016 Hillary Clinton Kentucky Primary