Secretary of State of Alabama John Merrill told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was “highly unlikely” that Democrat Doug Jones would not be certified as the winner of Tuesday’s special election for the U.S. Senate seat.
“I would find that highly unlikely to occur, Jake,” Merrill told Tapper when asked whether he expected anyone other than Jones to be Alabama’s next Senator.
“The people of Alabama have spoken tonight,” Merrill told CNN. “They’ve made their voice heard loud and clear. The most important thing to remember now is the process needs to be followed to ensure that the integrity, the safety and security of the election is preserved.”
Merrill’s on-air comments came late Tuesday night in the wake of Jones’ Republican opponent, Roy Moore telling his supporters he isn’t conceding yet.
“When the vote is this close … it’s not over,” Moore told supporters late Tuesday night after Jones declared victory.
Merrill made it very clear that an automatic recount had not been triggered based on the numbers between the two candidates Tuesday night — Jones receiving 671,151 votes (50 percent), to Moore’s 650,436 votes (48 percent). With an additional 22,819 (2 percent) write-ins. He confirmed with CNN that any candidate can request a recount, if they pay for it on their own. But he personally believes it’s very unlikely Tuesday night’s results would change.
Merrill must now certify the votes, which includes counting provisional and military ballots. He said the certification process will start no earlier than December 26, and not later than Jan. 3.
Pending completion of the certification, Moore’s campaign may request a recount.