The Indiana Senate has approved a measure that would allow Republican Governor Mitch Daniels to appoint a new secretary of state if current officeholder Charlie White is found to be ineligible.
Democrats are calling it a blatant power grab.
White, a Republican, is under indictment on voter fraud charges.
Democrats are now challenging his eligibility. Current state law requires runner-up Democrat Vop Osili to take office if White is ineligible.
The Senate voted 33-17 today to instead allow the governor to pick a new elections chief if the winner is ineligible. The provision is part of a larger election bill that now goes to the House for consideration.
The move drew a Senate floor protest from Democrat Greg Taylor, who says Republicans are trying to change the rules of the game while its being played.
“You have acquiesced to something that I never thought and no hoosier Should ever think should happen to them. You are acquiescing to circumvent the intent of Hoosier voters and the taxpayers of Indiana,” he said.
White, who was elected last November, is accused of voter fraud after using his ex-wife’s address on a voter registration form. He has acknowledged making an error, but says it was unintentional.
(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)