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Does Voting Still Matter? Election controversy soaked in Kentucky Bourbon

Tuesday was election day in many states and communities across the United States. Some big events occurred. Republicans ensured their twenty year hold on the Mississippi governorship, Democrats won united control of the Virginia state legislature for the first time in decades, and Knoxville made “herstory” by electing the city’s second female mayor and its first ever female majority city council.


But as the dust settles, it is clear that not all races are resolved. As previously reported, Kentucky’s gubernatorial race was expected to be one of the most closely watched and tightly contested matchups of the season. Kentuckians did not disappoint. With 100% of the votes counted (though not yet officially certified), Attorney General Beshear is leading Governor Bevin by about 5,000 votes or 0.4 percent of total votes cast. While Beshear has declared victory, Republicans are saying not so fast.


Who will decide who the next governor of Kentucky will be? Under arcane law, it could end up being Republican legislators lead by Kentucky State Senate President Stivers (R) rather than the voters.Source: Kentucky General Assembly


Governor Bevin has asked for a close review of the votes, claiming that there were irregularities in the voting but without identifying any specific examples. But perhaps the most shocking statement around the election came not from Bevin, but from the Kentucky State Senate President who has cited a law that has not been used in over 100 years to state that the Republican-held legislature may decide who will be governor rather than the voters. All of this is occurring against a clock as the Kentucky state constitution says the next governor must be inaugurated by December 10.

The issue boils down to a central point: absent any documented voting irregularities, will Republicans be successful in installing a governor who the voters did not choose? While the legal questions to this point may be decided in court, what is being said in the court of public opinion? For this, we visit Social Studio to get a closer look at what has been said about the election results of Kentucky.


Social Studio breaks down who is writing what as it relates to the Kentucky election. Forum replies represent nearly 2,000 of the posts. Source: Social Studio

Obviously Twitter has Kentucky on its mind because 97.5% of the 130,000 results were Twitter results. But we are also able to see other results such as forum replies which we will focus on in this post. Forum replies represent nearly 2,000 posts and often elicit attention-grabbing quotes. By looking through forums, you can a qualitative sense of what users are saying about the election. If you would like to dive further into sentiments behind forum replies, use the Social Studio Workbench feature to dive deeper into results. These results are mixed with some speaking in favor of Governor Bevin or Attorney General Beshear, but no one appearing to openly support the legislature choosing who the next governor will be. Only time will tell who will be Kentucky’s next governor, but Social Studio continues to be helpful in mining data who is saying what. If you would like more information on how Social Studio can help you in your research, contact your school’s representative today or swing by during our offices hours (shown on the screen outside the Social Media Command Center). We look forward to assisting you.