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  1. ITV Report

Voters head to the polls after bitter Alabama Senate battle between Roy Moore and Doug Jones

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Voters in the deeply conservative state of Alabama went to the polls on Tuesday in a special election to choose a candidate to fill the vacated seat of new Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

US President Donald Trump has endorsed the Republican candidate, Roy Moore, whose campaign has been beset by allegations of sexual misconduct towards teenagers when he was in his 30s.

The 70-year-old former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice - known as "Judge Moore" to his supporters - has denied any misconduct.

He is battling a Democrat former US attorney Doug Jones, backed by former President Barack Obama, best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen who killed four black girls in a 1963 church bombing.

Roy Moore arrived at his polling station on horseback. Credit: AP

Moore, who arrived at the polling station on horseback on Tuesday, is accused by multiple women of pursuing them when they were teenagers including one who said he tried to initiate sexual contact with her when she was 14.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said early Tuesday that turnout for the special election could be as high as 25 percent of registered voters.

Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 Senate majority but a routine election in Alabama isn't expected to alter that balance as Democrats have not been voted to the upper chamber of Congress by the state since 1992.

President Donald Trump notched a 28-point win in Alabama and remains popular there.

Roy Moore at the polling station with his wife Kayla. Credit: AP

WHO IS ROY MOORE?

70-year-old Roy "Judge" Moore was twice ousted as state Supreme Court chief justice after flouting federal law.

In 2003, he was removed from his position for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument in the grounds of the Alabama Judicial Building.

He then founded the Foundation for Moral Law, a Christian-right legal advocacy group.

After his re-lelection in 2012, he served for four years before he was again removed from his position after directing judges to continue to enforce the ban on same-sex marriage.

Following an unsuccessful appeal, he resigned in April 2017 and announced he would run for the US Senate seat.

According to his campaign website, he is a "life-long Alabamian and a committed constitutional conservative that has stood up for liberty and religious freedom his entire career."

He is married to Kayla and they have four children and five grandchildren.

Doug Jones on the campaign trail. Credit: AP

WHO IS DOUG JONES?

Jones, 63, is a career prosecutor and life-long resident of Alabama.

He served as the US Attorney for the northern district of Alabama under President Bill Clinton and is best known for prosecuting the remaining two Ku Klux Klan perpetrators of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four black girls.

During his tenure, he also secured an indictment against the Olympic Park bomber who was convicted for a series of anti-abortion and anti-gay terrorist attacks in the 1990s.

He returned to private practice in 2001 and was court-appointed General Special Master in an environmental clean-up case involving agrochemical company Monsanto.

In 2007, he was honoured with a civil rights Distinguished Service Award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Writing on his campaign website, Jones said: "I want to bring the hope of justice and fairness back to all Alabamians. I want to be a voice for reason in the turmoil of modern Washington."

He is married to Louise and they have three children and have two grandchildren.