MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Democrat Doug Jones on Thursday will be officially declared the winner of a U.S. Senate race after a judge rejected Republican Roy Moore’s last-ditch effort to stop the certification of Jones’ historic upset in a deep-red state.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick denied Moore’s request for a restraining order to stop Alabama’s canvassing board from certifying Jones’ victory on Thursday.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Jones will be certified as the winner of the Dec. 12 election on Thursday afternoon. He will be sworn in on Jan. 3.
A spokesman for Jones earlier called Moore’s action a “desperate attempt … to subvert the will of the people.”
“The election is over. It’s time to move on,” Sam Coleman wrote in an email.
Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes. Moore’s campaign was deeply wounded by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls decades ago. Moore denied the accusations and said he has taken and passed a polygraph test to prove they are false.
Moore’s attorney wrote in the wide-ranging complaint that he believed there were irregularities during the election, including that voters may have been brought in from other states. He attached a statement from a poll worker that she had noticed licenses from Georgia and North Carolina as people signed in to vote.
The complaint also noted the higher-than-expected turnout in the race, particularly in Jefferson County, and said Moore’s numbers were suspiciously lower than straight-ticket Republican voting in about 20 Jefferson County precincts. The complaint asked for a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.
“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday.
Merrill said he has so far not found any evidence of voter fraud, but he has said that his office will investigate any complaint Moore submits.
Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine, said Moore’s complaint did not raise the sort of issues that lead courts to overturn an election. He said Moore’s complaint seemed to boil down to the belief that he should have won based on exit polling and that the high turnout, including by African-American voters, must indicate fraud.
“I don’t think there is anything serious in there,” Hasen told The Associated Press.
Hasen said Moore’s complaint might just be a way for him to fundraise and throw “red meat to his loyal supporters.”
Moore has sent several fundraising emails to supporters asking for donations to investigate claims of voter fraud.
Jones and Moore were competing to fill the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.