Alabama officials certify Jones as Senate victor despite Moore challenge

Roy Moore sought a legal battle over fraud claims but it has been rejected

Judge Johnny Hardwick denied Republican Roy Moore's request for a restraining order to stop Alabama's canvassing board from certifying Mr Jones' victory. Jones said he will be an "independent voice" in the Senate and will strive for "common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle".

Alabama's Republican secretary of state shredded claims of voter fraud in the state's special Senate election in a Thursday CNN interview.

Mr Merrill said he had so far found no evidence of voter fraud, but pledged that his office would investigate any complaint submitted by Mr Moore.

Early Wednesday morning, a complaint was filed on behalf of Moore alleging voter fraud had occurred in the December 12 Senate election.

"It's a very weak complaint, it does not rely on any election experts I've ever heard of and it makes claims that on their face do not appear to be plausible, or appear to be irrelevant", said Rick Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Doug Jones won the race for Alabama nearly two weeks ago
Image Doug Jones won the race for Alabama nearly two weeks ago

In a statement following his victory's certification on Thursday, Jones said he is "looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year".

Late last night, former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore threw a desperate hail mary when he filed a legal complaint to challenge the results in the Alabama Senate special election.

Jones won the vacant seat by about 22,000 votes, or 1.6 percentage points, election officials said.

Sam Coleman, a spokesman for Jones's campaign, was not impressed by Moore's complaint. "He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the third of January when the Senate returns". He takes over the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "It cites rumors of election fraud that have already been investigated and refuted by the Alabama secretary of state, argues that high Democratic turnout in key areas was statistically unlikely, and reports that Moore himself has taken a polygraph test - an attempt to disprove allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances on teenagers when he was in his 30s", The Washington Post reports.

"I have stood for the truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama", he said. But the Moore campaign launched a last-minute court battle to stop state officials from certifying Jones as the victor, saying it should be delayed until a "thorough investigation of potential election fraud", according to his press release.

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