Former Republican IL Secretary of State Candidate Behind Threatened Litigation to County Clerks

By Benjamin Cox on September 9, 2022 at 1:29pm

A copy of Michelle Turney's Sec. of State campaign flyer from this year. [Courtesy of We are the People of Illinois! website]

A woman disqualified to run as a Republican in the Illinois June primary appears to be behind some of the recent threats of litigation against state election authorities.

In a record obtained from the Morgan County Clerk’s Office, James & Michelle Turney are behind a notice of prospective litigation and a demand for record retention of all election material after December 31, 2019 from Morgan County. The Turneys’ letter has turned up in a number of other counties. As KSDK-St. Louis reported and in a WLDS News follow-up yesterday, multiple county clerks across the state have been inundated with frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to ballot information in an effort to support baseless claims of rampant voter fraud.

The Turneys’ letter also demands that the County Clerk’s Office retain all information pertaining to temporary hires for the purpose of elections in the county.

WMAY reported yesterday evening that the Illinois State Archives have already requested a retention of all 2020 paper ballots in the face of the pending litigation.

Michelle Turney was part of a slate of candidates called “We Are the People of Illinois” that were all stricken from the Republican primary ballot in June after not having enough signatures. Their campaign website featured slogans and symbols linked to the Q Anon Conspiracy theory.

Turney was attempting to run for Secretary of State. Turney — a former police sergeant of over 20 years from the Beverly neighborhood in Chicago — said in a campaign email that her first priority would be to “decertify the 2020 Election on day one of my term.” Turney, who had more than a thousand YouTube followers during her campaign, also wrote in the campaign mailer that all “voting machines will be disassembled, sold, donated, or destroyed.” Turney is no longer on the City of Chicago’s payroll and according to a report from Chicago Reporter’s files on Chicago police misconduct, Turney and another officer were being investigated for a 2007 incident where an alleged illegal search and seizure took place during a traffic stop. The city of Chicago ultimately settled the matter out of court for over $12,000.

According to Illinois law, county clerks and election authorities are required to maintain paper ballots used during an election for 22 months following the election, after that time they can be destroyed.

Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener and Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll both declined to comment on the contents of Turney’s letter.