Last uncounted ballots: Moore can’t close 20,000-vote loss

Published 7:49 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

By Kim Chandler | The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Republican Roy Moore hasn’t conceded his 20,000-vote loss to Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s Senate race, and military and provisional vote totals announced Wednesday aren’t enough for Moore to close the deficit.

Jones beat Moore on Dec. 12 to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century. Moore was beset by allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls decades ago.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced Wednesday that a total of 366 military ballots were returned from overseas. He also said 4,967 provisional ballots were cast. Even if all of those votes went to Moore, that is well short of the 20,000-vote deficit that Moore would need to close the gap. It also would not be enough to trigger an automatic recount.

“No additional ballots are eligible to be received,” Merrill’s office said in announcing those last ballot totals.

Moore had laid some of his hopes on the military and provisional ballots in a Dec. 15 email to supporters, writing that those were yet to be counted and the election was “too close to call” and “the battle is NOT OVER!”

A telephone and email message to Moore’s campaign was not immediately returned Wednesday.

On Friday, counties are to submit the tallies for 22,780 write-in votes cast Dec. 12.

However, most of those are expected to go to other people and not Jones and Moore, whose names were on the ballot.

Moore has sent out emails since the election requesting donations to help investigate what he called reports of voter fraud and other irregularities” at the polls.

Alabama will certify the election result between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3.

Speaking at a Dec. 13 news conference in Birmingham, Jones said it was time for Moore to “do the right thing” and concede.

“It’s time to move on. It’s time to heal,” Jones said.