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Alabama secretary of state says Doug Jones will be certified the winner of the Alabama special Senate election

Doug Jones (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — 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. On Wednesday, he filed an election complaint alleging voter fraud may have occurred, calling for a delay in the certification of the results that declared Jones officially the winner and asked for “a new special election.”

Alabama Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick denied Moore’s attempt Thursday afternoon.

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.”

Shortly before Alabama was set to certify Jones’ victory over Moore, the Republican’s spokeswoman railed against the process and emphatically stood by the expertise undergirding the campaign’s complaint.

“If they can steal the election from Roy Moore, Governor Ivey, they can steal it from you, or Secretary of State Merrill, it can happen to you,” said Moore spokeswoman Janet Porter in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.

One of the people cited in the Moore campaign’s complaint is James Condit Jr., who also posts about JFK conspiracy theories and the murder of DNC staffer, Seth Rich, and, according to The Washington Post, has referred to “Zionist” control of world politics.

Confronted with some of Condit’s background, Porter insisted he was nevertheless “an expert on voting machines.”

“Maybe he got a parking ticket yesterday. That’s irrelevant to the case,” Porter said. “If you want to question, you know, whether he’s a Zionist or not, I am. I’m pro-Israel. I’m glad the embassy is in Jerusalem by the way. Good job, President Trump.”

As for Trump’s lack of support for their effort, Porter turned to Trump’s own claims — presented without evidence — that massive voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the 2016 election.

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.