he Alabama Supreme Court stepped into Tuesday’s U.S. Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones on Monday night by blocking a lower state court’s ruling earlier in the day that ordered election officials to take steps to preserve digital images of every ballot cast Tuesday.
In effect, the Alabama Supreme Court’s stay—or freezing—of an earlier court order to preserve the digital ballot images undermines the best-case scenario for ensuring that an accurate vote count can be verified in the controversial Senate race.
Alabama’s Supreme Court, where Moore served as chief justice, did not issue an explanation with its stay. However, a lengthy brief filed at the close of business Monday by state attorneys on behalf of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill contained a list of eyebrow-raising assertions, such as Merrill had no authority to tell local election officials how to operate their voting machines. The state also said only private vendors holding contracts to program the machines could do so—and that it was too late for that.