Alabama officials certify Doug Jones as the next U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Election officials certified Democratic candidate Doug Jones as the winner of the 2017 Special Election and the next U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama Thursday afternoon.

The State Canvassing Board, made up of Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall, and Secretary of State John Merrill, met at 1:00 p.m. to review and certify the December 12 election results. Jones defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore by more than 20,000 votes.

Jones released a statement after the certification saying:

"I am looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year. As I said on election night, our victory marks a new chapter for our state and the nation. I will be an independent voice and work to find common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Washington back on track and fight to make our country a better place for all."

Wednesday night, before the board was scheduled to meet, Moore filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State in the Circut Court of Montgomery County. According to court records, the suit sought to prevent Merrill from certifying the results based on "systematic election fraud" and requested that a new special election be held.

Jones contested the suit, filing a motion to dismiss early Thursday saying the suit "has no basis in law." Thursday morning on CNN, Merrill said the lawsuit will not stop Jones from being certified today unless the court intervenes. Half an hour before the board met, a judge denied Moore's request for a Temporary Restraining Order.

Roy Moore also released a statement after the certification stating:

"Election fraud experts across the country have agreed that this was a fraudulent election. Even the Secretary of State himself was forced to stop fraudulent and intimidating advertisements from an organization known as Highway 31, predominantly funded by the Democratic Senate Majority PAC. I’ve had to fight not only the Democrats but also the Republican Senate Leadership Fund and over $50 million in opposition spending from the Washington establishment. I have stood for the truth about God and the Constitution for the people of Alabama. I have no regrets. To God be the glory."