FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky election officials on Tuesday delayed certifying statewide primary election results after the state’s chief election official identified a series of discrepancies in vote counts.
The inconsistencies won’t change any outcomes of last month’s primary election. But it set off another round of feuding over how the state monitors elections.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told the State Board of Elections that her staff found more than 50 discrepancies spanning 20 of the state’s 120 counties.
Many discrepancies amounted to a handful of votes for certain candidates each time.
But in one instance, Grimes said, Republican Ryan Quarles could have been shortchanged several hundred votes in one county as he cruised to a primary victory in his reelection bid as state agriculture commissioner.
Grimes said the certification delay was due to a new state law that removed much of her authority over the State Board of Elections. Grimes has filed a lawsuit challenging the measure, claiming it’s an unconstitutional infringement of her executive authority.
“It is the reason why we are delaying the certification,” Grimes told reporters. “In my near eight years as chief election official, I’ve never had a certification go forward where we didn’t have an answer for every question and discrepancy for what was unofficially reported versus what we certified.”
Grimes said her staff found discrepancies that should have been detected by the elections board’s staff. Grimes has feuded with the board’s executive director.
The discrepancies included transcription and mathematical mistakes, she said.
Board chairman Josh Branscum didn’t blame the new law for the certification delay.
“I think there’s just some clarifications that need to be made, and the board’s going to do everything we can to make sure we move forward appropriately,” he told reporters.
The elections board set another meeting for Friday. It has until next Monday to certify the statewide primary election results.