Alabama Secretary of State: 'Highly unlikely' Jones not the winner

Jones' lead surpasses automatic recount threshold

By JOSIAH RYAN, CNN
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Doug Jones

(CNN) - Secretary of State of Alabama John Merrill said it was "highly unlikely" that Democrat Doug Jones would not be certified as the winner of Tuesday's special election for the US Senate.

"I would find that highly unlikely to occur, Jake," Merrill said, when asked by CNN's Jake Tapper if he expected anything other than Jones being the next senator from Alabama.

Merrill's remarks came after Republican candidate Roy Moore's campaign chairman directed the media to Merrill to understand final result procedures and after Moore himself, who was not conceding, suggested he wanted a recount.

"When the vote is this close ... it's not over," Moore told supporters after Jones declared victory.

But Merrill, who is charged with certifying the results, suggested he did not at this time see grounds to contest the results.

"The people of Alabama have spoken tonight," he told CNN. "They've made their voice heard loud and clear. The most important thing to remember now is the process needs to be followed to ensure that the integrity, the safety and security of the election is preserved.

"One of the things that is obviously recognized by using the equipment that we use in the elections process is that there's not a whole lot of mistakes that are made."

The election will be certified no earlier than December 26 and no later than January 3.

If the margin is within half a percentage point, an automatic recount is triggered. So far, Jones is leading by more than that. There are still votes to be counted, including absentee and military ballots.

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