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Judge Rejects Roy Moore's Move Seeking To Delay Certification Of Senate Vote

Roy Moore, seen here watching election returns in his Senate race, had callied on Alabama officials to not certify the results of the special election that he lost to Democrat Doug Jones. An Alabama judge has rejected the request.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

An Alabama judge has rejected Republican Roy Moore's bid to block certification of the Senate vote he narrowly lost early this month. In his complaint, Moore alleged election fraud was "sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election." He called for an investigation and possibly a new election.

"Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says his office has found no evidence of voter fraud," Andrew Yeager of member station WBHM reports. "The lawsuit also says Moore has taken a polygraph test, which shows allegations of sexual misconduct against him are false."

Merrill spoke about the complaint with Jeremy Hobson of NPR's Here & Now on Thursday. When asked whether the certification might be in jeopardy, Merrill answered, "Not that I'm aware of, unless there's some kind of court injunction that's issued between now and the time that certification will occur, which is 1 p.m. Central Time, this afternoon."

That interview is scheduled to air shortly after 1 p.m. ET.

Moore, a controversial former judge, lost to Democrat Doug Jones on Dec. 12, in a race that was marked by numerous allegations that Moore was guilty of having sexual contact or inappropriate relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. The special election was held to replace Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate to serve as President Trump's attorney general.

As for reports of voter fraud like that alleged by Moore, Merrill said that while around 40 cases remain active, "the four most serious charges that we've received have all been vetted and all been cleared" by his office.

Citing a case that he said was "very concerning to a lot of people," Merrill described reports of a town with 2,200 residents — and where more than 5,000 votes were recorded. That supposedly happened south of Birmingham, in a town called Bordalama.

"That is very, very frightening to think that that occurred," Merrill said, "except when you realize that there is no town or community in the state of Alabama called Bordalama. So, that was all fictitious. It was made up; it was just a lie that started on the Internet."

Other cases that were disproved, he said, included claims that busloads of African-Americans and vanloads of Mexicans had been brought to vote in Alabama. Those stories were all lies, Merrill said.

Merrill also said he was able to identify a young man who appeared on local TV on election night — and seemed to suggest people had come from other states to vote for Jones. Merrill's office determined that while the man had indeed moved to Alabama he was also employed there and had been registered to vote.

More than two weeks after the special election, Moore has still not conceded the race to his opponent. In addition to the court filing, Moore is asking his supporters to call Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Steve Marshall and ask them to delay certification of the vote.

Announcing his last-ditch challenge, Moore said that three election integrity experts had found evidence of fraud. One of the experts he quoted is a self-described JFK conspiracy theorist and election analyst named Richard Charnin, who said that the outcome in some Alabama precincts had a "less than 1 in 15 billion" chance of occurring naturally.

Moore lost the election by more than 20,000 votes, with Jones winning by a gap of 1.5 percentage points — 49.9 to 48.4.

Alabama's State Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to certify the results of the special election.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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