You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Roy Moore’s election lawsuit is straight from Donald Trump’s playbook.

Jim Watson/Getty

It’s been 16 days since the former Alabama Supreme Court justice and accused child molester lost his race for the U.S. Senate, Roy Moore still refuses to concede. Late Wednesday, he took his denial one step further: He filed a complaint in a circuit court, claiming “systematic voter fraud” and asking state officials not to certify the historic victory of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. Moore’s complaint asks for a full investigation of the election, which he lost by about 22,000 votes, and calls for a new election.

That’s not happening, according to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. “[Moore’s lawsuit] is not going to delay certification,” he told The Associated Press on Wednesday night, “and Doug Jones will be certified [on Thursday] at 1 p.m. and he will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the third of January.”

But Moore’s lawsuit is not meaningless. The complaint specifically takes issue with “highly unusual” turnout in counties with large black populations. By denying the validity of an election where black voters turned out in extraordinary numbers, tipping the election in Jones’s favor, he provides a rallying cry for the 48 percent of Alabamans who voted for him—and for Donald Trump supporters who still believe, as the president does, the myth of widespread voter fraud in America.

Before last year’s election, many Americans rightly worried that if Trump lost to Hillary Clinton, he would refuse to concede. “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election... if I win,” he said in October 2016. Trump later said he would “reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.” Since Trump’s victory rendered the issue moot, Moore’s decided to steal Trump’s strategy for himself.