International

Alabama officials to certify Jones as Senate winner despite Moore challenge

Roy Moore. File photo.

Roy Moore. File photo.   | Photo Credit: AP

Alabama's Secretary of State said on Thursday that Democrat Doug Jones would be certified the winner of the state's U.S. Senate race despite a legal challenge by Republican Roy Moore, whose campaign was derailed by accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls.

Moore's challenge alleged there had been potential voter fraud in the December 12 election that denied him a chance of victory. His filing on Wednesday in the Montgomery Circuit Court sought to halt a state canvassing board meeting scheduled to ratify Jones' win on Thursday.

Jones won the seat, vacated when Jeff Sessions was tapped by U.S. President Donald Trump as attorney general, by about 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percentage points, election officials said. That made him the first Democrat in a quarter of a century to win a Senate seat in the state.

Moore declined to concede defeat despite being urged by Trump to do so.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill was to meet with other members of the canvassing board, Governor Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall, to certify the result.

“Doug Jones will be certified today,” Merrill told CNN in a phone call.

Regarding the claim of voter fraud, Merrill said more than 100 cases had been reported. “We've adjudicated more than 60 of those. We will continue to do that,” he said.

A day after the election, Merrill had told CNN it was "highly unlikely” that Jones, 63, would not be certified as the winner.

Seating Jones will narrow the Republican majority in the Senate to 51 of 100 seats.

Republican lawmakers in Washington had distanced themselves from Moore and called for him to drop out of the race after he was accused by several women of sexual assault or misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.

Moore has denied wrongdoing and Reuters has not been able to independently verify the allegations.

In a statement posted online on Wednesday by his campaign team, Moore said his complaint also contained an affidavit from him that underwent a polygraph examination that cleared him of sexual misconduct.

Moore had based his challenge on three experts who reviewed the election results, the statement said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:06:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/alabama-officials-to-certify-jones-as-senate-winner-despite-moore-challenge/article22320643.ece

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