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Alabama finds no voter fraud after probe of TV interview

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 21, 2017

Provisional ballots in boxes are stacked before members of the Shelby County probate office count the voted ballots from last week’s U.S. Senate election at the Shelby County courthouse, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in Columbiana, Ala. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)
Provisional ballots in boxes are stacked before members of the Shelby County probate office count the voted ballots from last week’s U.S. Senate election at the Shelby County courthouse, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, in Columbiana, Ala. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)
By Jeff Martin Associated Press

ATLANTA – Defeated U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore on Thursday pleaded for donations to help him investigate potential election fraud, the same day Alabama officials said they investigated but found nothing improper regarding a TV interview that had raised suspicions.

Democrat Doug Jones defeated Moore, a Republican, on Dec. 12 to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century. Moore was beset by accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. He has denied the allegations.

During the live, election-night TV broadcast, a man supporting Jones made a comment that some of Moore’s supporters pointed to as evidence of out-of-state voters taking part in Alabama’s election.

“We came here all the way from different parts of the country as part of our fellowship,” he said. “And, all of us pitched in to vote and canvass together, and we got our boy elected!”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Thursday that his office was able to identify the man and determine that he has lived in Alabama for more than a year and is currently a registered voter in the state.

The TV station that initially broadcast his comments did not identify the man. Nor did Merrill, who said the video clip was “the most controversial issue regarding potential voter fraud” that has been reported to his office since the election.

Moore has sent out multiple emails since the election requesting donations to help investigate what he has called reports of voter fraud and other irregularities at the polls. In Thursday’s fundraising email, he asked supporters if he could count on them to “dig deep” for donations and send them immediately.

“So please chip in a donation of $1,000, $500, $250, $150, $100, $75, $50, $35 or $25 immediately to my campaign’s “Election Integrity Fund” to help make sure all votes are accurately counted,” he wrote.

Among reasons the money is needed, according to Moore: “Gas for staff and volunteers to travel across the state and chase down reports of fraud and irregularities” and “mounting legal fees.”

Moore has not conceded his 20,000-vote loss to Jones, even though military and provisional vote totals announced this week are not enough for him to close the deficit. Moore had laid some of his hopes on those 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!”

On Friday, Alabama 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, not Jones and Moore.

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