On Thursday, Democrat Doug Jones was formally confirmed as the winner of the Senate election. The announcement came just hours after Roy Moore, his Republican opponent, filed a lawsuit requesting the certification be delayed because of “systemic election fraud.” But John Merrill, the state’s Secretary of State, had something to say about those claims.
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During an interview with CNN, Merrill openly debunked multiple claims made by the Moore campaign of voter fraud approximately one hour before Jones was certified as the winner of the Alabama Senate seat.
Merrill responded to claims made by Janet Porter, a spokeswoman for Moore’s campaign, beginning by saying, “It’s important to note that people are entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts.”
Speaking to the accusation made by Porter that the ballots from the election are destroyed, Merrill said, “The facts are that all of our ballots, the original ballot which people cast their vote are all preserved for a period of at least 22 months after each and every election.”
“Our machines are not programmed to capture the digital images to which [Porter] preferred,” Merrill added.
Merrill also asserted that even if “Moore had received all 5,500” of the military and provisional ballots, adding that Moore “did not,” it would not have been enough to overcome more than 20,000 vote lead Jones, as Moore still would have trailed by “14,000+ votes.”
When asked if the voter fraud accusations made by Moore had been “summarily dismissed,” Merrill replied, “No, certainly not.”
He continued, “One of the things that is important to note for your viewers and for anyone that is interested in submitting a complaint is that we have a way to capture all of those complaints through” a voter fraud website “where any citizen can submit an allegation or complaint that they’ve witness or that has been reported to them, so they can share with us what they would like us to investigate.”
“To date, by the time I had left the office to come over here, we had had 115 of those complaints for this particular election. Now, more than 60 of those have already been fully adjudicated and dismissed, but we have several that are still active and will continue to investigate those until they are fully adjudicated, as we do each and every election.”
Discussing specific allegations of voter fraud that were submitted, Merrill referenced one that stated “five busloads of African Americans had been brought from Mississippi to Mobile to vote in the election.” He added, “That was summarily dismissed after an investigation was conducted.”
A second instance claimed, according to Merrill that “three vanloads of people from Mexico that were imported to come and vote and cast their ballot, and that they had been identified and that they had actually been arrested and incarcerated. That too was not true.”
“Third,” added Merrill, “that there was a town that was some 20 miles from Birmingham named Bordalama where they had only 2,200 residents and more than 5,000 people had actually cast their ballot. That would make some sense, and it would cause a lot of consternation except there is no town or community in the state of Alabama called Bordalama, so that was completely fabricated and made up.”
The “most significant” example, according to Merrill, involved “an individual who was featured on a local television station out of Mobile at the election night victory party for Doug Jones who was not identified, who indicated that he had come to Alabama, he had gotten involved in the campaign, he had cast his ballot and other colleagues of his and friends of his from out of state had done the same thing.”
After requesting that the clip be aired on multiple stations to help identify the individual, the person was located and identified. “He’s been living in Alabama for more than a year. He has a job here. He is a registered voter, and he cast his ballot for the candidate of his choice.”
When the interviewer referred to the examples of “what you have been getting” as “very interesting,” Merrill responded, “You have absolutely no idea. That’s just a brief sample.”
“That’s pretty wild,” she replied.