Alabama Secretary Of State Says Jones Will Be Certified

Supporters of Doug Jones celebrate his victory in the Alabama special election at the Doug Jones election headquarters on December 12th, 2017.

(CNN) — Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill confirmed Thursday morning that Democrat Doug Jones will be certified the winner of the Alabama special Senate election despite Republican Roy Moore’s refusal to concede and request for a new election.

“Will this affect anything?” Merrill said on CNN’s “New Day,” referring to Moore’s challenge. “The short answer to that is no.”

Merrill said he would meet Thursday afternoon with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and the state Attorney General Steve Marshall to certify Jones’ win, and that Jones would indeed be sworn in when the Senate returns in January.

“We will sign the documents certifying him as the senator for the state of Alabama,” Merrill said. “He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on January 3 when the Senate returns.”

Moore refused to concede in the wake of the election result, and on Wednesday, he filed an election complaint alleging voter fraud may have occurred. He called for a delay in the certification of the results that declared Jones officially the winner and asked for “a new special election.” In a statement Thursday, Jones’ transition team called Moore’s challenge a “desperate attempt” to “subvert the will of the people.”

Merrill stressed that any citizen can come forward to bring up allegations of voter fraud that they’ve seen and that his office would adjudicate them.

“Any citizen has the opportunity to submit an allegation of voter fraud that they’ve witnessed,” Merrill said. “We’ll investigate those.”

Merrill said his office had received more than 100 reports of voter fraud and had adjudicated more than 60. Merrill said one complaint claimed to be about a town that doesn’t exist, a report he dubbed “a flat-out lie.”

Jones defeated Moore in the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated when President Donald Trump appointed Alabama’s own Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. The ensuing election drew national attention, thanks in large part to the controversial candidacy of Moore, a Republican former judge with a history of incendiary comments and controversial actions. He ran a campaign largely targeting his party’s leadership and drew support from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Several women came forward alleging sexual assault and harassment by Moore in the past as the campaign progressed. Some of the allegations included saying Moore had sexually abused teenage girls. Trump, who initially supported Alabama Republican Sen. Luther Strange but endorsed Moore following the primary, reaffirmed his support in the wake of the allegations against Moore.

Moore denied all allegations, and his campaign doubled down on some of his more controversial positions.