Polls have closed in the Alabama special election to fill U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate. The Senate race has been thrust into the national spotlight after allegations of sexual misconduct against the Republican nominee, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
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The state has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992, but Moore is locked in a tight race with his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney.
Moore faces allegations from eight women who have accused him of sexual misconduct toward them when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, the women were in their teens. He has denied the allegations.
Before the allegations surfaced last month, Moore already had a long-standing reputation as a fierce defender of Christianity in the public sphere and was twice removed from his position as the state's chief justice for violating judicial orders.
The race has created a wedge between many Republicans on Capitol Hill who have maintained that Moore should step aside and President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Moore.
Throughout the day, check back for the latest news on the special election:
Updates: Alabama U.S. Senate special election
11:28 p.m. ET - Jones projected to win
ABC News projects that Democrat Doug Jones will win the Alabama Senate race, based on its analysis of the vote.
11:24 p.m. ET - 99 percent of vote in
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Jones leads Moore 49.7-48.6. The current 1.1 percent margin is outside of the 0.5 or less necessary to trigger an automatic recount.
11:08 p.m. ET - Trump congratulates Jones
Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
10:40 p.m. ET - Over 95 percent of expected return in
Jones is maintaining his small lead with less than 5 percent of the expected vote outstanding. The current numbers show Jones ahead 49.8-48.7.
Announcement just now from Moore watch party: "We're not calling it yet. In the meantime...pray"@ABCPolitics— Tom Llamas (@TomLlamasABC) December 13, 2017
10:23 p.m. ET - Jones takes narrow lead
With 90.9 percent of precincts reporting, representing 88.7 percent of the expected return, Jones has taken a slight lead over Moore, 49.7-48.7 percent.
10:12 p.m. ET - Potential for automatic recount
10:00 p.m. ET - Two house after polls have closed
The percentage of precincts reporting is up to 82.3, and Moore leads by a 50.2-48.2 percent margin.
9:44 p.m. ET - Moore's campaign strategist: 'We smell victory'
The race is still too close to call, but Moore's campaign is feeling confident.
"We're fixing to see a blowout in the state of Alabama. The people didn't buy any of the false allegations," Dean Young, Moore's campaign chief strategist, told ABC News' Tom Llamas at Moore's election night party.
"All hell came against Judge Moore. I've never seen anything like it... The stakes were so high, that the price was high, but we're going to win and we're going to win big in Alabama tonight," Young added.
Young also said the campaign was "very thankful" to President Trump for endorsing Moore.
"It was a big deal that President Trump stood with us," Young said, continuing, "By doing so, President Trump is going to have a senator that will help him achieve his agenda."
9:35 p.m. ET - Over half of expected return reporting
With 60 percent of all precincts reporting, Moore holds a 51.6-47.0 percent advantage over Jones.
The precincts reporting represent 51.8 percent of the expected return.
9:25 p.m. ET - Counties where all precincts are reporting
As of 9:25 p.m., eight Alabama counties have fully reported their results. Those counties are: Bullock, Fayette, Greene, Houston, Limestone, Perry, Randolph and Russell.
The candidates split the counties with Moore winning Fayette, Houston, Limestone and Randolph, and Jones winning Bullock, Greene, Perry and Russell.
9:00 p.m. ET - An hour after polls have closed
An hour after the polls have closed in Alabama, and with about 10.2 percent of precincts reporting, Moore leads Jones 54.5-44.1 percent.
Preliminary exit poll results
A negative-tilting judgment among voters on sexual misconduct allegations against Republican Roy Moore made for a remarkably competitive special Senate election in deep-red Alabama, with broad gender and racial gaps and vast shifts among typically pro-GOP groups, including independents, moderates and non-evangelical whites.
The outcome was far from clear as polls closed at 8 p.m. On the central issue of the election, 50 percent of voters said the allegations against Moore were definitely or probably true, while somewhat fewer, 44 percent, saw them as definitely or probably false.
That said, well fewer than half, 41 percent, said these allegations were at least one of several important factors in their vote. A majority, 54 percent, said they were a minor factor, or not a factor at all. Strikingly, as well, 57 percent said they made their choice before November, that is, before the allegations against Moore surfaced.
Among key groups, Democrat Doug Jones led Moore by 15 percentage points among women in preliminary exit poll results, 57-42 percent. These are preliminary exit poll results. Results may change as more data become available and as results are adjusted to reflect the actual vote as it becomes available.
8:12 p.m. ET - High turnout tonight
The Alabama Secretary of State office confirmed to ABC News that the turnout is currently trending at 25 percent, higher than the 18-20 percent it had forecasted. This far exceeds turnout in the recent races here.
8:00 p.m. ET - Polls closed in the Alabama special election
ABC News does not yet have enough information to project a winner.
Preliminary exit poll results
Big gender gaps within candidates' favorability, per preliminary exit polls.
Women: 57-41%.— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) December 12, 2017
6:07 p.m. ET - Alabama voters split on allegations against Moore, exit polls indicate
In what would otherwise be a cakewalk for the Republican candidate, preliminary exit poll results in tonight's election show how allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore have complicated his contest against Jones.
On the overwhelming issue of the election, voters are closely split on the allegations against Moore.
Forty-nine percent think they are definitely or probably true, versus 45 percent who think they are definitely or probably false. That said, 40 percent say these allegations are at least one of several important factors in their vote; a majority, 55 percent, says they’re a minor factor, or not a factor at all.
does Jones share your values? 43% say yes in preliminary exit polls. Does Moore? 42%. (3 percent say both do) #ALSEN exit polls— Rick Klein (@rickklein) December 12, 2017
Read more here.
Updates: Alabama U.S. Senate special election
5:11 p.m. ET - Campaign spokesman: Moore 'probably' still believe homosexual conduct should be illegal
Ted Crockett, the spokesman for Moore's campaign, was asked again today if Moore still believes that homosexual conduct should be illegal.
"Probably," Crockett said in an interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper Tuesday afternoon.
Crockett paused and answered, "It's just a sin."
"You seem to want to take the whole — 2,000 or 3,000 years of our history and y'all want to throw it out the window as if you're going to make your own rules, your own man made rules, and do whatever you want in sin," Crockett said.
Moore had also said in the past that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.
Crockett defended Moore's position today by arguing that Muslims cannot serve in Congress "because you have to swear on the Bible to be an elected official in the United States."
After Tapper pointed out that a U.S. president or a member of Congress is not require by law to take the oath of office on a Christian Bible, though it is commonly seen, Crockett paused for a while.
"I know that Donald Trump did it when he — when we made him president," Crockett then said.
"Because he's Christian and he picked it," Tapper countered.
One such member of Congress, Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison from Minnesota, was sworn in using a Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson in 2007. - ABC News' Veronica Stracqualursi
3:39 p.m. ET - Feds in 'heightened posture' over hackers who may target election
Federal officials are in "a heightened posture" looking to thwart any hackers who may be targeting today's Senate race, according to a top Homeland Security official.
This morning, officials from the Department of Homeland Security held a "coordination call" with state and local counterparts in Alabama, and similar conference calls are expected throughout the day, said Chris Krebs, who is acting as the under secretary for DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate. - ABC News' Mike Levine
Read more here.
3:22 p.m. ET - Who has called for Moore to step down?
An ABC News count of Senate Republicans found 19 senators who explicitly said Moore should step aside due to the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Some of the senators have added that the election is up to the people of Alabama, but each was clear that their personal desire for Moore to step down still applies. - ABC News' Ali Rogin, Mariam Khan and Arlette Saenz.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
- Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
- Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
- Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
- Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
- Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine
- Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
- Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa
- Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.
- Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
- Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
- Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
- Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
- Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.
- Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
- Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
- Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
2:50 p.m. ET - Jones supporters speak out about race's rhetoric
Melanie Jeffcoat, a teacher/mom/activist in Birmingham, told us she needed her daughters to know that they will be believed if they speak out about sexual assault -- that the rhetoric in this race had been upsetting #AlabamaElection pic.twitter.com/aAABy1ybyC— MaryAlice Parks (@maryaliceparks) December 12, 2017
Corrie May told @sramosABC that the nation has not looked at Alabama like this, this closely, since 1963... &that she reminded her friends and family to get out and vote today. Added that @GDouglasJones "deserved" to win pic.twitter.com/EdVFFz4vP8— MaryAlice Parks (@maryaliceparks) December 12, 2017
From Monday - Moore's wife defends against anti-Semitism claims: ‘One of our attorneys is a Jew’
Kayla Moore refuted accusations that her husband holds anti-Semitic views and accused the media of slandering him.
“The fake news — they paint him a different picture, their picture. So let me tell him who he is,” Kayla Moore said while introducing her husband at a campaign rally in Midland City, Alabama, Monday night.
“Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews,” she continued. “I tell you all this because I’ve seen it all, so I just want to set the record straight while they’re here.”
“One of our attorneys is a Jew,” Kayla Moore added. - ABC News’ Veronica Stracqualursi
Kayla Moore, wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, at Monday night rally: "Fake news would tell you that we don't care for Jews...One of our attorneys is a Jew." https://t.co/ebuF9dNI3S pic.twitter.com/fmvK4eW6Rs— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 12, 2017
Read more here.
2:10 p.m. ET - Watch ABC News live coverage streaming online tonight
From Monday - Liberal group urges voters to write in football coaches Saban, Malzahn
In an attempt to capitalize on college-football-crazed Alabamians, a liberal super PAC is urging voters in the state to write in the names of the head coaches of the University of Alabama and Auburn University football teams in Tuesday's closely watched U.S. Senate special election. - ABC News' John Verhovek
Read more here.
12:51 p.m. ET - Spectrum of voters share differing views on election
Democrats in Alabama — many of whom live in the state's larger cities and suburbs — view the race as an opportunity. They are tired of being called rednecks and sick of their state being treated as a national joke. They are also wondering why more people aren't talking about Jones' record. As U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Jones helped convict the KKK members responsible for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the small, rural towns in Alabama where many die-hard Roy Moore supporters live — places like Greenville, Luverne and Georgiana. At Hank Williams' boyhood home in Georgiana, the caretaker, whose name was Leonia, shared her disbelief at the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore. In her words, "Crap. I don't believe it. Forty years and no one said a thing, and now this comes out of the wormhole?"
Finally, it's the Republicans who live in the population centers of Alabama who are probably most frustrated. These suburbanites are lifelong Republicans who are not happy with either of their choices. They see Roy Moore as a radical who doesn't represent them, but can't fathom ever voting for a Democrat who doesn't represent their views on gun rights or abortion, and many are planning to sit this election out. - ABC News' Cheri Preston
12:17 p.m. ET - Jones, Moore cast their ballots
Both Jones and Roy Moore voted Tuesday morning, with Jones arriving with his wife, Louise Jones, at his polling place in Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Roy Moore, with wife Kayla Moore, arriving by horseback, as has become tradition, in Gallatin, Alabama.
Doug Jones thanked reporters for covering the election and said he felt "exuberant" while reflecting on his campaign.
"We know this race has been run in the best way possible," he said, adding, "I don't think Roy Moore a going to win this election."