Democrat Doug Jones has been certified as the winner of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama that was challenged by Republican Roy Moore, after a judge rejected Moore's appeal to stop the certification of the election results.
Jones was officially declared the winner Thursday afternoon by a three-person panel consisting of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and state Attorney General Steve Marshall.
More than two weeks after losing a special election, Moore filed a last-minute court challenge to prevent Alabama election officials from certifying his Democratic opponent's victory.
Moore filed the complaint in a state courthouse late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Jones was set to be officially declared the winner of the December 12 election, which Jones won by just over 20,000 votes.
The complaint alleged Moore lost due to "systematic voter fraud," citing higher than expected turnout in Jefferson County, the state's most populous area, along with irregularities in 20 voting precincts in the county.
Moore's lawyers demanded an investigation into their claims, and for the state to hold a new election. Moore has rejected calls to concede the race to Jones.
Before he certified Jones the winner, Merrill said he had not uncovered any evidence of voter fraud.
"Will this [the complaint] affect anything?" Moore asked Thursday on CNN. "The short answer is no."
Now that Jones has been certified the victor, Merrill said he will be sworn in next week to succeed Jeff Sessions, who became attorney general in President Donald Trump's cabinet earlier this year.
Jones is the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from the heavily Republican state in 25 years.
Moore is a former Alabama state supreme court judge known for his staunch religious views. His campaign was derailed when The Washington Post published allegations made by several women of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers, and Moore was in his 30s.
Included in the complaint was an affidavit from Moore stating he passed a polygraph test that confirmed the charges of misconduct "are completely false."
"It's appalling that the Democrat Senate Majority PAC and the Republican Senate Leadership Fund both spent millions to run false and malicious ads against me in this campaign," Moore said.
Jones' election narrows the Republican lead in the Senate to a 51-49 margin.