Frivolous Election FOIA Requests Hit County Clerks in West Central Illinois

By Benjamin Cox on September 8, 2022 at 9:09am

Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggoner demonstrates the new electronic voting machines earlier this year.

Local election authorities across the state are fielding a wave of FOIA requests related to election integrity

KSDK reports that in recent weeks ramping up to the November General Election a variety of form letters and emails, most of them including the same language, have started arriving in county clerks’ inboxes around Illinois. The letters often come as open records requests filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act law asking for information about election counting processes or other election processes that are not required to be tracked, some requests ask for data dating back as far back as 2017.

The KSDK report lists Iroquois, Madison, and Tazewell counties having voting information targeted by the form letters and requests.

WLDS News has learned through email correspondence that Macoupin, Sangamon, and Pike have received similar requests, in some cases in the double digits. Pike County Clerk Susan Pitchford says: “We have had FOIA requests for previous elections. However, we have not had any threatening emails/letters about ‘fraudulent elections.'” WLDS News is awaiting further responses from Morgan, Scott, Cass, Greene, and Brown counties.

According to KSDK, some of the form letters and FOIA requests have also had accompanying threats for pending litigation in effort to unseal certified ballots from previous elections. Other threats in the correspondence even go so far as to threaten a lawsuit against the county clerk or election authorities for putting together what the letters have characterized as “fraudulent elections.”

Illinois state law requires county clerks and election authorities to maintain paper ballots for 22 months following an election. Certified ballots can only be unsealed by court order for an official recount.