By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The State Canvassing Board — a panel made up of Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill — officially certified December’s Senate special election results on Thursday after GOP candidate Roy Moore challenged the results with a legal motion filed the night before.
Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, did not concede the election on election night, and insisted that the election should be held again due to what he claims are statewide coordinated efforts of voter fraud.
The final challenge to the certification came Thursday morning when Moore filed a motion to delay the certification.
Moore’s complaint, filed with the Montgomery Circuit Court, alleged that the Secretary of State’s Office had not conducted a meaningful investigation into various voter fraud complaints.
Merrill said, after the Canvas meeting, that his office handled the hundreds of complaints to his office effectively.
Judge Johnny Hardwick, a judge on the Circuit Court of Montgomery, denied Moore’s challenge in a last-minute ruling. Moore’s final options lie in a recount effort that he must sponsor with a bond, according to Merrill.
The final results for the race put Moore in a 1.63 percentage point deficit with his opponent Democrat Doug Jones. This puts Moore out of reach of the automatic recount paid for by the state in the event of a .5 percent margin of victory.
Moore will have 48 hours to file a motion for a recount with the Secretary of State’s Office. The cost of such a recount will be determined depending on the scope of the recount if Moore decides to file the motion. Merrill said the recount would reach into the millions of dollars if the recount is statewide.
Jones won the toss-up Senate seat earlier this month after a suspenseful election night that stretched two hours after the polls closed. The now Sen.-Elect Jones won the race by more than 20,000 votes.
Many credit Jones’ win to the 22,852 Alabamians, about 1.69 percent of voters, that wrote-in a candidate’s name instead of voting for Moore or Jones. High-profile people include U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who said a day before the election that he opted to write-in a “distinguished Republican” instead of checking Moore’s name.
Jones will take the seat early next year, replacing Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., who was appointed to the seat by former Gov. Robert Bentley.