The chairman of Alabama’s Perry County Commission was indicted on felony and misdemeanor voter fraud charges in connection to the midterm primary and general elections, officials said.
Albert Turner Jr., the official who is also son of a well-known civil rights activist, was charged with voting multiple times in Alabama’s primary elections in the spring of 2022 and for allegedly ballot harvesting during the Nov. 8 midterm elections, said a joint news release from Alabama’s secretary of state, John H. Merrill, and Fourth Judicial Circuit District Attorney Michael Jackson issued on Wednesday.
Turner was allegedly caught inserting multiples ballots into a voting machine in May during the Alabama Democratic primary, Jackson said. It’s not clear what candidates he submitted the ballots for.
“He was there most of the day stuffing filled out ballots in favor of the candidates he was supporting,’’ Jackson told news outlets Wednesday. “Witnesses came forward, and we felt we had enough to present to a Perry County grand jury.”
In November, Turner allegedly mailed in an undisclosed number of absentee ballots, said Jackson and Merrill.
“It is alleged that Mr. Turner presented multiple completed absentee ballots for mailing from the U.S. Post Office,” according to their news release. “Both of these mattes are currently under investigation.”
When asked about whether the alleged fraudulent activity could impact the outcome of elections, Merrill said that “it is not appropriate at this time to comment because a lot of variables that factor into that decision and these matters are currently under investigation,” the release said.
“Since January 19, 2015, we have worked extraordinarily hard to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Alabama,” Merrill’s office stated. “While the accused is innocent until proven guilty, it is important to know that this incident, just like the other 1805 incidents we have investigated over the last eight years, will receive the full attention of this office as we confirm for the people for the State of Alabama that we are the gold standard for election administration in the United States.”
Responding to the charges, Turner told The Associated Press that he is aware of the charges but did nothing inappropriate or illegal.
“I am not concerned about any charge he has announced and I will not waste any energy on political theatre. It is mighty funny that Little Mike waited until he was leaving office to make his charge, because he knows he can’t prove his case,” Turner told AP.
The Epoch Times contacted Turner for comment.
A Wednesday statement that was issued by a Facebook account associated with Turner said he is also “not concerned about Michael Jackson and his bogus change of ballot stuffing and mailing too many absentee ballots,” suggesting the indictment was politically motivated.
“The people were tired of politically motivated prosecutions by an incompetent district attorney,” the page said. “It is not going unnoticed that two days before he leaves office for good, he sends out a press release before he gets an arrest warrant or notifies the accused of the charges. Chairman Turner started he has not received any paperwork outlining the charges against him. Sheriff Jones when contacted has not received any paperwork to arrest the Chairman.”
The statement also said Turner agrees that the ballot box was stuffed during last year’s elections but “not by him.” Instead, it was done “by the people of Perry County and the 4th Judicial District,” the statement continued, additionally claiming that Merrill—who is set to leave office—is a “womanizer.”
“Merrill was at Turner’s courthouse office two weeks ago asking that the Chairman throw him some business at his new government relation job with a Mississippi-based engineering firm,” the statement added.
Turner was first named to the county commission in 2000 to serve the remainder of his father’s term. He’s since won several reelections, reported AL.com.
His father, Albert Turner, was a civil rights activist who had been an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., and he helped lead the voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital Montgomery, in 1965.
Alabama has seen seven convictions of voter fraud in the last eight years, said Merrill’s office in the news release. Those with information relating to instances of voter fraud or the case are advised to call the Alabama secretary of state’s office at (334) 242-7210.