“AL Sec. of State still sowing confusion over Jones win”

Zachary Roth:

Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill is claiming Roy Moore can request a recount in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate race, which Moore lost by 21,000 votes. But state law appears to say otherwise.

Merrill’s stance could help the GOP delay seating Democrat Doug Jones in the U.S. Senate. It’s just the latest example of the secretary of state, a Republican and Moore backer, creating serious doubts about his ability to administer the crucial race fairly….

But Rick Hasen, a respected election law expert at the University go California, Irvine, wrote online that Merrill got it wrong. Citing state law, Hasen wrote that only candidates for state-level positions, not federal ones, are entitled to a recount whatever the margin.

The Alabama Law Institute’s Election Handbook appears to support Hasen.

“I understand that Merrill may have made an error in the heat of the election (but truly, this is something he should have known going into such a high profile and closely watched election),” Hasen wrote Wednesday morning. “But what explains his failure to correct things now? We are moving from a mistake to possibly something else.”

Merrill’s response? He blocked Hasen on Twitter. (It’s not the first time that Alabama’s chief elections official has blocked an election expert who dared criticize him. One was even blocked after saying Merrill shouldn’t block people on Twitter).

Asked by The Daily Democracy whether Merrill stood by his interpretation of the recount law, a spokesman didn’t respond.

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