Roy Moore challenges Alabama Senate election result

The former judge claims there were voting irregularities and election fraud, according to ‘three national election integrity experts’

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 28 December 2017 15:15 GMT
Roy Moore refuses to concede defeat in Senate race

Republican Roy Moore has filed a last-minute legal challenge to try and stop Alabama officials declaring he lost the recent senate race, and ratifying surprise Democrat victor Doug Jones.

Hours before the Alabama Secretary of State was due to certify Doug Jones had become the first Democrat in at least 25 years to win a senate seat in the deeply conservative state, Mr Moore filed a lawsuit alleging that potential voter fraud had denied him the chance of victory.

He also sought to stop the state election board meeting that is scheduled to ratify the victory of Mr Jones, who stunned political pundits when he defeated the former judge earlier this month.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Mr Moore said in a statement when he announced the lawsuit, claiming he had affidavits from three “national election integrity experts”.

He claimed he had taken a polygraph test which he said showed the allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct levelled at him by a number of women – accusations he stridently denied – were false.

His filing in the Montgomery Circuit Court also called for the establishment of a fraud investigation and the for a new election.

“We call on Secretary of State Merrill to delay certification until there is a thorough investigation of what three independent election experts agree took place: election fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election.”

Bar in Alabama erupts in celebration after Roy Moore loses

But Mr Moore appeared to face a tough challenge. Mr Merrill, a Republican who said he voted for Moore, said he has no intention of delaying the canvassing board meeting.

On the night of his defeat, Mr Moore claimed his side could not accept the result which saw the Democrat beat him by more than 20,000 votes. By contrast, Mr Merrill said he believed the “people of Alabama had spoken”.

Appearing on CNN on Thursday morning, Mr Merrill repeated his point. “Will this affect anything?” Mr Merrill said, referring to the former judge’s challenge. “The short answer to that is no.”

Mr Moore, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, had previously made international headlines when he had a 5,000lb granite statue containing the Ten Commandments placed in his court complex. He was ousted from his position as the state’s top judge after he told after members of the judiciary to ignore a US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

Having won the Republican primary in September with the support of such “insurgent” figures as Steve Bannon, Sarah Palin and Nigel Farage, the 70-year-old appeared set to take the senate seat made vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he joined Mr Trump’s cabinet.

However, his numbers started to tumble after several women came forward to accuse him of sexually abusing and assaulting them when they were teenagers and he was in thirties working as a local prosecutor. One of the women said she was just 14 at the time.

Turnout for the showdown was around 40 per cent: high for a special election. It was marked by a very high number of African American women and men turning out to vote for Mr Jones, who famously convicted two former Ku Klux Klan gang members who bombed a black church in 1963.

Mr Moore’s complaint also alleged “anomalous” higher voter turnout in Jefferson County, where census data shows 43 per cent of the population is black. He called the county’s 47 per cent voter turnout as “highly unusual” and questioned the integrity of its election results.

Mr Jones has said that he is looking forward to working for the people of his state. His spokesman, Sam Coleman, told ABC News: “This desperate attempt by Roy Moore to subvert the will of the people will not succeed.”

He added: “The election is over, it’s time to move on.”

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