Going for the Hail Mary, losing U.S. Senate candidate Roy S. Moore filed an election complaint Wednesday afternoon over what he claims to be “potential election fraud” in a last-minute attempt to delay the certification of his opponent’s victory.
Democrat Doug Jones managed to secure a majority of the votes in the tightly contested race, but since his election Dec. 12, Moore and his supporters have done little else other than to allege that fraudulent voting played a role in their unexpected loss.
Still, the complaint Moore’s campaign filed in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County Wednesday afternoon is the first official action taken, and it comes just hours before the results of the election were supposed to certified by the Alabama State Canvassing Board.
“The purpose of the complaint is to preserve evidence of potential election fraud and to postpone the certification of Alabama’s Special Election by Secretary of State John Merrill until a thorough investigation of potential election fraud, that improperly altered the outcome of this election, is conducted,” Moore campaign wrote in a press release Wednesday night.
In the same press release, Moore claims three national “election integrity experts” with whom the campaign had spoke had all concluded “with a reasonable degree of statistical and mathematical certainty” that “election fraud occurred.”
All three experts submitted affidavits to the court along with Moore’s complaint, though only one was identified by the Moore campaign in its statement announcing the legal challenge. Richard Charnin is quoted as saying the probability of the election results in certain precincts in Jefferson County happening naturally is “less than one in 15 billion.”
Charnin is no stranger to post-election controversy, though. He has a history of making similar claims after races won by both parties like the 2004 presidential election of George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 Democratic primary. According to the New York Times, Charnin has also claims to have “mathematically proved a conspiracy to assassinate” President John F. Kennedy.
The complaint also rehashes a number of issues the Moore campaign has already raised outside of the legal system including a Fox 10 interview in which a Jones’ supporter insinuated people from out of state “pitched in to vote and canvass together” on the Democrat’s behalf.
After many allegations of voter fraud on social media, a formal complaint was eventually filed with Merrill’s office, which located the man who made the comments and announced that no evidence of voter fraud had been discovered during the investigation.
In the press release, Moore also indirectly referenced the deluge of attack ads funded by Highway 31, a super PAC that spent more than $6 million on advertisements targeting Moore, some of which were publicly criticized as misleading by Alabama officials.
It was only recently clear where Highway 31’s funding came from, as its public filings did not initially list donors or expenditures prior to the election. Instead, the PAC financed its efforts on debt — a common tactic that can delay the disclosure of donors until those debts are paid.
It wasn’t until Dec. 27 that updated filings revealed that the Democratic Senate Majority PAC funding almost all of Highway 31’s efforts against Moore and a number of ads focusing on the sexual misconduct allegations against him that defined the later half of the campaign.
In his campaign’s press release Wednesday evening, Moore decried the allegations, which he still fully denies, adding that he had successfully completed a polygraph test confirming those representations of misconduct were “completely false.”
“It’s appalling that the Democrat Senate Majority PAC and the Republican Senate Leadership Fund both spent millions to run false and malicious ads against me in this campaign,” Moore said. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue as election integrity should matter to everyone.”
Moore said his campaign filed the legal action Wednesday to call on Merrill to delay the certification of the election results until there is a thorough investigation of what he claims was “fraud sufficient to overturn the outcome of the election.”
However, unless a judge intervenes, it doesn’t appear that Moore’s plan is going to work. On CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning, Merrill plainly said he didn’t expect the filing of the complaint to affect anything about the plans to certify a victory for Jones’ later that day.
“We will sign the documents certifying [Jones] as the senator for the state of Alabama,” Merrill added. “He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on Jan. 3 when the Senate returns.”
As he has since the election, Jones did not play too much into Moore’s comments or the recently filed complaint. In his only statement about it, Jones’ called the complaint in Montgomery a “desperate attempt by Roy Moore to subvert the will of the people” that would not succeed.
“The election is over, it’s time to move on,” he added.