Indiana Judge Rules Republican Secretary of State “Ineligible to Serve”
So here’s a wild end-of-the-year situation: Charlie White, the Secretary of State of Indiana, has been ruled ineligible to serve by a judge in Marion County. White has been battling charges that he was illegally registered to vote at the wrong address. In other words, he would be the most high-profile perpetrator of voter fraud in recent US history.
What’s more, the judge ruled that the second-place finisher in the 2010 Indiana Secretary of State’s race, Democrat Vop Osili, should be made the Secretary of State.
Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg’s ruling overturns the Indiana Recount Commission’s decision. That panel had ruled that despite controversy over his legal residence, White, a Republican, could keep the office to which he was elected.
“The fact that Mr. White knowingly registered in the wrong precinct is sufficient to render him ineligible for the office of secretary of state. Whether or not he believed that his registration complied with the law is not relevant,” Rosenberg wrote.
Gov. Mitch Daniels and other top state officeholders have urged him to step aside during his legal battle, but White has refused to do so. He also faces felony voter fraud charges in Hamilton County.
White’s office will seek to have the Indiana Recount Commission meet next week and ask for an emergency stay of the ruling, said A.J. Feeney-Ruiz, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, of which the commission is a part.
White will also appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals. So there’s probably many months before this resolves itself. But the Indiana Recount Commission could conceivably not stay the ruling, which would mean that White would have to immediately step down and give the Secretary of State position to Osili. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State SITS on this recount commission panel, and given that White has recused himself from it, there are only two members of the three-member panel left.
Democrats in Indiana are claiming victory and demanding that Osili get sworn in immediately. Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker said in a statement that White “has done nothing but embarrass Hoosiers since wrongfully assuming the position. This is a victory for Indiana, and it validates the months we’ve spent making it clear that this kind of behavior should not and will not be tolerated.”
White was charged with seven counts of voter fraud back in March. He allegedly listed his ex-wife’s address as his own on voting and loan forms. He as a result served on a town council without being eligible to do so. He voted in the May 2010 Republican primary using his ex-wife’s address, despite having moved out of the home. And he tried to take a salary from the town council, despite being ineligible to serve on it. The charges carry up to eight years in prison, and Indiana Republican leaders – including Governor Mitch Daniels – have asked White to step aside while the case works through the courts.
So we finally found an example for the constant Republican claims of voter fraud: the Republican Secretary of State of Indiana.