Top Alabama election official: Jones will be certified winner of Senate race

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Thursday that Democrat Doug Jones will be certified as the next senator from Alabama within hours despite a last-minute lawsuit filed by Jones's Republican opponent, Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Former AG Sessions enters Alabama Senate race Campaign ad casts Sessions as a 'traitor' ahead of expected Senate run MORE.

Jones defeated Moore by 1.5 percentage points in the Dec. 12 special election, but Moore's campaign has refused to concede, raising questions about possible voter fraud and filing a complaint late Wednesday.

Merrill told CNN that the complaint won't delay Jones from joining the Senate.

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"What you were asking me is will this affect anything. The short answer to that is no," Merrill said in an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota.

"Doug Jones will be certified at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Central Time. ... We will sign the documents certifying him as the senator for the state of Alabama. He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the 3rd of January when the Senate returns."

Election officials have been working to certify the results since the election earlier this month, with Moore's campaign alleging widespread voter fraud and raising money for an "election integrity" effort and a potential recount.

In the Wednesday legal filing, Moore called on Merrill to delay certification "until a thorough investigation of potential election fraud, that improperly altered the outcome of this election, is conducted."

When asked by CNN about the potential for widespread voter fraud in the election, Merrill said that his office has investigated more than 60 complaints so far but did not give the indication that he found anything significant. As an example, he mentioned one complaint about a town named Borderlama that had 5,000 people voting despite a population of only 2,000. 

But that complaint didn't hold muster, as there is no town in Alabama named "Borderlama."

Jones's upset stands to give Alabama its first Democratic senator in decades and shrink the GOP majority in the Senate to 51-49.

A Jones spokesman downplayed Moore's lawsuit in a brief statement Thursday.

"This desperate attempt by Roy Moore to subvert the will of the people will not succeed. The election is over, it's time to move on," the spokesman said.

Olivia Beavers contributed

This report was updated at 9:14 a.m.