Alabama to count, identify US Senate special election votes

The margin between the two top candidates was smaller than the total of write-in votes cast.

Posted: Dec. 18, 2017 3:56 PM
Updated: Dec. 18, 2017 7:24 PM

The Alabama Secretary of State's office says it is asking all 67 Alabama counties tally write-in votes cast during the Dec 12 U.S. Senate special election because of the close margin between the two candidates.

Secretary of State John Merrill says he has determined that the 22,814 write-in votes will be identified and documented for the results based on an act which instructs write-in votes to be counted if the total exceeds the margin for the top two vote-getters.

The margin between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore was 20,634 votes. Jones won the election, but Moore has yet to concede the race. Moore told supporters he has cases of voter fraud, and he is awaiting military and provisional votes. Merrill has said it is highly unlikely those votes would alter the election, and many Republican leaders including President Donald Trump have called on Moore to concede.

The write-in votes will be included in each county's final results, and those totals will be certified to the state Dec 22. Jefferson County, which is where Birmingham is located, had the largest number of write-in votes with 3,710. Madison County came in second with 3,446.

While the write-in votes will likely have next to no impact on the election results, it will allow curious minds to learn how many votes prominent Alabamians like Senator Luther Strange, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn received.

The final certification could happen as early as Dec 26 and no later than Jan 3.

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