To paraphrase the Dixie Chicks, Roy Moore is neither ready to make nice nor ready to back down.
The former Senate nominee filed a last-minute lawsuit on Wednesday alleging “systematic voter fraud” in the Alabama special elections, which he lost to Democrat Doug Jones by 1.5 percentage points. Attorneys representing Moore argue that if the vote totals are certified prior to a recount, it will engender “irreparable harm,” causing the candidate to be “denied his full right… to a fair election.”
The lawsuit was dismissed by a Montgomery County court on Thursday. Results in the Dec. 12 runoffs are set to be certified by the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office the same day.
The holder of that office, Republican John Merrill, had already signaled he would not stand in the way of Jones being seated in the Senateeven despite personally voting for Moore in the race. “I have not seen any irregularities or any inconsistencies that are outside the norm,” the Alabama Secretary of State told The New York Times earlier this week.
Jones, who is set to be Alabama’s first Democrat in the Senate in more than two decades, has lambasted the suit as “a desperate attempt by Roy Moore to subvert the will of the people” in a statement.
“The election is over,” his transition team claimed. “It’s time to move on.”
Although Moore has alleged “confirmed election fraud” and voter intimidation against his campaign in left-leaning Jefferson County, the opposite is believed to be true. Reports indicate Alabama Republicans have systematically attempted to disenfranchise the very black voters who turned out in record numbers to vote for Jones in 2017.
The state has some of the nation’s most repressive voter ID laws. Enacted in 2011, they were upheld after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision on Shelby County v. Holder struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Alabama has also prohibited early voting, which has been shown to increase turnout in African-American communities. It doesn’t allow voters to be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, pre-registration for prospective voters under the national age limit, or same-day registration.
These restrictions have had a marked impact on voter turnout amongst communities of color in the state, who are twice as likely as white residents not to have valid identification. Black turnout dropped by eight percent after Alabama’s voter ID laws were enactedafter Alabama’s voter ID laws were enacted.
Merrill has declined to fix the problem, blaming the state’s issues on “lazy” voters.
On Dec. 12, the reports of voter suppression weren’t from Moore voters68 percent of whom were white. They came from the populations most affected by the recent wave of regulations.
Web designer Brittany Bevelle tweeted that several voters at her polling place were mysteriously marked “ineligible” to vote on the day of the election, including “folks who have lived here longer than I’ve been alive.” Her allegations were confirmed by the ACLU of Alabama, which claimed that several similar complaints were lodged that day.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law also reported that Jefferson County voters were sent text alerts claiming that their polling location was moved. Forty-seven percent of the county’s population is either black or non-white.
Even if the judge had allowed Moore’s suit to go through, any formal investigation into “systematic voter fraud” (per his words) was unlikely to go the Republican candidate’s way.
This isn’t the first time that the vociferously anti-LGBTQ politician has attempted to obstruct democracy in his state. Following the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, Moore advised county clerks to defy the ruling and deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He would be removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for his edict.