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Indiana High Court Says Daniels Can Appoint White’s Successor

From the Associated Press:

The Indiana Supreme Court has cleared the way for Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to appoint ousted Secretary of State Charlie White’s replacement, dashing Democrats’ hopes of taking the politically powerful statewide office.

The court voted unanimously today to overturn a Marion County judge’s decision ordering the state recount commission to certify 2010 runner-up Vop Osili as the state’s top elections official.

Democrats argued that White’s candidacy was invalid because he was improperly registered to vote. They said his Feb. 4 conviction on voter fraud charges proved their point.

The commission contended that the criminal case and the civil case were unrelated and the court should not overturn an election. It argued that since White was removed from office for a conviction, he should be replaced by the governor.

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Indiana High Court Hears Arguments in SOS Succession Dispute

From the Associated Press:

Indiana Supreme Court justices peppered both sides with pointed questions during arguments to determine whether ousted Secretary of State Charlie White was ever a legal candidate for the office.

Most of the questions during today’s hour-long hearing centered on state laws regarding voter registration and the requirements for the secretary of state’s office. The justices posed several hypothetical questions about how White’s situation might be applied to ordinary voters who live in one place and vote in another.

At issue is a court order mandating that the state recount commission certify Democratic runner-up Vop Osili the winner of the 2010 election because White’s candidacy was invalid. White was removed from office this month after being convicted of voter fraud.

The state argues the governor should appoint White’s successor.

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Local News Politics

Battle Over White’s Replacement Likely Headed To State Supreme Court

The felony conviction of former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White has Democrats and Republicans going to battle over who should replace him if the judge upholds the verdicts.

White was found guilty last weekend of voter fraud and other counts related to his voter registration for the 2010 Republican primary, and was forced from office.

Prosecutors say White lied about his address in order to protect his council seat in the Fishers community.

White says he plans to ask the judge to reduce his convictions to misdemeanors at sentencing later this month, which would allow him to resume office.

IUPUI political science professor Brian Vargus says it’s unlikely the judge will grant the request, and the state Supreme Court will likely determine who holds the job next.

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Local News Politics

White Says He’ll Seek To Regain Office

Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White is awaiting sentencing following Saturday morning’s guilty verdict on voter fraud and other felony charges related to the 2010 Republican primary election.

A Hamilton County jury convicted White of six of the seven counts brought against him. White has been automatically removed from office. Each conviction carries a punishment of up to three years in prison.

Prosecutors say White lied on a voter registration form about where he was living during the primary in order to protect his seat on the Fishers City Council in suburban Indianapolis. They say White listed his ex-wife’s address on the form when he was actually living outside his council district.

White says he’ll ask the judge to reduce his felony convictions to misdemeanors to make him eligible to resume his duties as secretary of state. No sentencing date has been set.

White’s eligibility to hold office is also the subject of a civil suit moving through the court system.

He defeated Vop Osili in the 2010 general election. Democrats want Osili to be installed as secretary of state.

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Local News Politics

White Convicted of Six Counts, Removed From Office

A Hamilton County, Indiana jury has found Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White guilty of six felony counts. The convictions mean White is also out of a job.

White was convicted of three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft related to his voter registration during the 2010 Republican primary. Prosecutors say White used his ex-wife’s address on his voter registration form to protect his seat on the Fischers Town Council while he ran for state office, when he was actually living in a townhouse with his fiancé outside the district.

Each conviction carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.
The jury returned its verdict about 2:00am today after getting the case early Friday afternoon. The panel acquitted White of the most serious charge against him, fraud on a financial institution.

White says he plans to ask the judge to reduce the convictions to misdemeanors at sentencing, so he can reclaim his job. Governor Mitch Daniels has appointed White’s chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, to serve as interim Secretary of State.

White’s attorney did not present any defense witnesses or evidence during the trial. He told the Indianapolis Star after the verdict that he did not regret that decision.

White defeated Democrat Vop Osili in the 2010 general election.

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Judge: White Can Stay In Office During Appeals

A judge said today that Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White can remain in office while the courts determine his eligibility to hold the post.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled last week that White was ineligible to stay in office because he did not live in the precinct where he was registered to vote in the 2010 Republican primary.

White asked the judge to allow him to remain in office during the appeals process.

He also faces a criminal trial related to his voter registration later this month.

White defeated Vop Osili in the November general election, but Democrats filed a challenge.

(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

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Local News Politics

Judge To Rule Wednesday In Charlie White Case

A judge says he’ll rule tomorrow on Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White’s bid to remain in office while he appeals an order removing him from the statewide post.

Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled last month that White is ineligible to hold the office because he did not live at the address listed on his voter registration when he entered the Republican primary in 2010.

White wants Rosenberg to allow him to remain in office during the appeals process.

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Indiana Judge: White Ineligible To Hold Office

It appears likely the question of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White’s eligibility to hold office will be taken up by the state Supreme Court.

A judge has ruled that White should not have been on the 2010 ballot.

White, a Republican, defeated Democrat Vop Osili in the 2010 general election, but state Democrats contested the outcome, saying White is ineligible to be secretary of state because he used his ex-wife’s address on a voter registration form, allegedly to protect his seat on the Fishers Town Council.

Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg agreed this week, declaring Osili the winner.

Secretary of State spokesman A.J. Feeney-Ruiz says the ruling will be challenged.

“This is unprecedented. There are a lot of moving parts happening right now. My understanding is that the attorney general’s office will be filing an immediate stay and filing for an appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals,” he said.

Feeney-Ruiz says White has no plans to step aside.

“The secretary is the still the secretary of state, will continue to be the secretary of state and will continue to do the work of the secretary of state as he has done and he will continue to do as this process plays out.”

White also faces criminal charges related to his registration and will stand trial next month.

White says he lived at his ex-wife’s house at the time but occasionally stayed at at a residence he and fiancé purchased.

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Measure Would Allow Daniels To Appoint New Secretary of State

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.

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Local News Politics

Judge Asks Recount Commission to Reconsider Indiana Secretary of State’s Eligibility

A judge in Indianapolis says Democrats’ argument that Republican Charlie White is not eligible to serve as Indiana Secretary of State may be valid, but the state Recount Commission should rule on the issue.

White was indicted earlier this year on charges of fraud stemming from his use of his ex-wife’s address and not his own while voting in the May primary and serving on a city council. The indictment came weeks after the Recount Commission dismissed a challenge on similar grounds.

The judge has ruled that the dismissal was not in accordance with the law. Today’s decision will require the panel to hear the case again.

Democrats say their candidate from November—Vop Osili—should be named Secretary of State.