Today the Alabama election sort of encapsulated 2017: Doug Jones vs Roy Moore

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Two adjacent news stories from the Associated Press pretty much told us all we needed to know about how this year has gone. First, we bring to you the world as we know it:

Democrat Jones officially declared winner over Roy Moore

By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Democrat Doug Jones’ historic victory over Republican Roy Moore was declared official Thursday as Alabama election officials certified him the winner of the special Senate election, despite Moore’s last-minute lawsuit claiming voter fraud.

Jones defeated Moore on Dec. 12 by 21,924 votes in a stunning victory in a traditionally red state, becoming the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate victory in a quarter-century. The win came after Moore, best known for stands against gay marriage and the public display of the Ten Commandments, was dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls that occurred decades ago.

Jones said in a statement that he looked forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year.

“As I said on election night, our victory marks a new chapter for our state and the nation,” he said. “I will be an independent voice and work to find common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Washington back on track and fight to make our country a better place for all.”

Jones will be sworn in on Jan. 3, narrowing the GOP’s advantage in the U.S. Senate to 51-49. He takes over the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In a brief meeting Thursday at the Alabama Capitol, the governor, attorney general and secretary of state signed paperwork certifying the final ballot numbers. It was a quiet punctuation mark to a tumultuous election marked by the misconduct accusations and Moore’s eleventh-hour legal fight.

Moore had refused to concede his loss to Jones and filed a last-ditch lawsuit hours before the certification, saying he believed there were voting irregularities that should be investigated. A judge denied his request to stop the election certification. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said his office has so far found no evidence of fraud.

In a brief statement, Moore stood by his claims that the election was fraudulent and said he had to fight Democrats and over $50 million in opposition spending from the Washington establishment. He said he had no regrets.

“I have stood for the truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama,” he said.

On election night, Moore had pegged his hopes on votes from military serviceman and provisional ballots. The official numbers certified Thursday showed that Jones slightly expanded his lead over Moore. Jones had a lead of 20,715 in the unofficial returns and was ahead 21,924 in the certified result. In all, more than 1.3 million people voted in the special election, including 22,850 write-in votes. Jones is a former U.S. attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen responsible for Birmingham’s infamous 1963 church bombing.

As he launched his campaign, he said he saw an opening for a rare Democratic win against Moore, a polarizing figure in the state. Moore was a twice removed from the position of chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Once was for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building. And he was permanently suspended last year for urging probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of federal court rulings.

Moore’s campaign was deeply wounded by the sexual misconduct accusations. Moore denied the accusations and said in the lawsuit that he had 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.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday.

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 might just be a way for him to fundraise and throw “red meat to his loyal supporters.”

Merrill said Moore has a few options left, such as offering to pay for a recount within 48 hours.

“I can say this. I don’t think there is any doubt from the minds of anybody that’s in the room that if there was ever a question about whether Alabama conducts honest, fair election safe and secure elections, that question has been eliminated,” Merrill said.

And then there are some in Alabama that consider the election #fakenews

The Latest: Moore again calls Alabama election ‘fraudulent’

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Senate race in Alabama (all times local):
3 p.m.
Defeated U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore reacted to Alabama finalizing the election results by again saying experts agree the election was “fraudulent.” He made the comment in a brief statement Thursday afternoon, shortly after a state board officially declared Democrat Doug Jones the winner of the Dec. 12 election.

Moore said he’s had to fight not only Democrats but also Republicans and the “Washington establishment.” He said he stood for the truth and has no regrets, closing his statement by saying “To God be the glory.”
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1:30 p.m.
Senator-elect Doug Jones of Alabama says his victory marks a “new chapter for our state and the nation.”
Jones issued a statement Thursday after a state board officially declared him the winner of the Dec. 12 election. Jones said he is looking forward to “going to work for the people of Alabama.”
Official election results show that Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore by 21,924 votes. Jones is expected to be sworn in next month.
He is the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in 25 years. 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.”
The state certified Jones’ win after a judge rejected Moore’s request to delay the certification.
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1:10 p.m.
Alabama election officials have officially declared Democrat Doug Jones the winner of a special Senate election held earlier this month.
Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore by about 22,000 votes on Dec. 12 and became the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama. Moore was dogged by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls that occurred decades ago.
He refused to concede the race and filed a last-ditch lawsuit Wednesday, saying there were voting irregularities that needed to be investigated. A judge rejected his claims. Alabama officials also said they found no evidence of fraud.
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12:30 p.m.
An Alabama judge has rejected Roy Moore’s attempt to stop the state from making his defeat official in Alabama’s special Senate election.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick on Thursday denied Moore’s attempt to delay the certification of votes while Moore’s claims of voting irregularities are investigated. Democrat Doug Jones is expected to be certified as the winner Thursday afternoon.
Moore had filed a lawsuit late Wednesday night in an 11th-hour attempt to stop Alabama from certifying Jones as the winner.
Moore’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit that he believed there were irregularities and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.
Alabama election officials say they found no evidence of fraud.
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12:15 p.m.
A Montgomery circuit judge at this hour is having a telephone conference with attorneys in Republican Roy Moore’s last-ditch effort to stop Democrat Doug Jones from being declared the winner in the Alabama Senate election.
Moore filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to block the state from certifying Jones as the winner, saying there were voting irregularities during the Dec. 12 race he lost by about 12,000 votes.
Court staff members say Montgomery Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick scheduled the telephone conference with attorneys. Jones has asked Hardwick to toss the lawsuit.
Alabama’s election canvassing board is scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Thursday to certify the election result.
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11:10 a.m.
Democrat Doug Jones is asking a judge to toss Roy Moore’s last-minute lawsuit seeking to overturn Jones’ historic win in the Alabama race for U.S. Senate.
Jones filed a motion Thursday in Montgomery Circuit court asking a judge to dismiss Moore’s complaint. Attorney Joe Espy wrote that Moore has no legal ground for asking the court to block Jones’ win.
Moore filed a lawsuit Wednesday raising broad claims of election fraud. He asked a judge to stop the state from declaring Jones the winner. The election results will be certified at 1 p.m. CST. Thursday unless blocked by a judge.
Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes to become the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in 25 years.
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9 a.m.
A spokesman for Doug Jones is calling Roy Moore’s last-minute lawsuit to stop the certification of Jones’ victory in this month’s U.S. Senate race a “desperate attempt.”
Jones spokesman Sam Coleman said Thursday that Moore’s attempt to “subvert the will of the people will not succeed.”
Echoing a previous refrain from Jones, Coleman added, “The election is over. It’s time to move on.”
Moore filed a lawsuit in Montgomery Circuit Court late Wednesday raising broad claims of election fraud. He asked a judge to block the state from certifying Jones as the winner. Secretary of State John Merrill said he has found no evidence of voter fraud, and he said the state canvassing board would certify Jones’ victory as planned on Thursday afternoon.
Jones is scheduled to be sworn in next week.
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12:30 a.m.
Roy Moore is going to court to try to stop Alabama from certifying Democrat Doug Jones as the winner of the U.S. Senate race.
Moore filed a lawsuit Wednesday evening in Montgomery Circuit Court. The filing occurred about 14 hours ahead of Thursday’s meeting of a state canvassing board to officially declare Jones the winner of the Dec. 12 special election.
Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes.
Moore’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit that he believed there were irregularities and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that Jones will be certified as the winner Thursday. He said so far his office has found no evidence of fraud.