After Charlie White admitted to voting last year in a precinct in which he did not live during a strange 13-minute talk with reporters on his way into court Friday, his lawyer had a piece of advice for him. “Shut up,” Dennis Zahn told his client. He grabbed White by the arm and escorted him away from reporters.In the hours that followed, it became apparent that Zahn was not the only one at odds with Indiana’s secretary of state.
Sean Keefer, who was White’s campaign manager and then his deputy secretary of state and chief of staff, resigned Friday. Keefer’s deputy position is established by law, and he would have assumed White’s duties if, as many top Republican officials had urged, White took a leave of absence while his legal matters are being resolved. A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted White on seven felony counts. He is accused of voter fraud stemming from his decision to register to vote at his ex-wife’s address around the same time he was moving to a new condominium across the town of Fishers, Ind., last year.Two special prosecutors allege that White did so in order to keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council. His ex-wife’s address is within the district he used to represent, but his new condo is not.
Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was not eligible to run for the office he now holds and his opponent should be named the winner of the November 2010 election, an Indiana judge ruled.
The Republican secretary of state, who faces seven felony charges including vote fraud, defeated Democrat Vop Osili by more than 340,000 votes in the election. Opponents contended White was not properly registered as a candidate.
White was registered at his ex-wife’s address when he voted in the May 2010 primary and was not registered at his address until after the deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy or certificate of nomination, Judge Louis Rosenberg found in a ruling dated December 21.
Rosenberg, a Marion County Circuit Court judge, reversed a 3-0 Indiana Recount Commission decision finding White eligible and returned the matter to the commission with instructions to certify Osili as secretary of state.
Besides the obvious embarrassment of the state official who is in charge of elections being indicted on charges of voter registration fraud, it’s just perfect that this happened in Indiana, because Indiana paved the way for the voter suppression laws we’re seeing all over the country. Indiana led the way with the most restrictive voter ID law in the country. There are now more restrictive laws in other states, because once conservatives get a voter suppression law past a federal judge they then work to make it still more restrictive, but Indiana was the undisputed national leader on voter suppression efforts.
This is voter registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud. So. Indiana has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country, and that didn’t stop their top elections official from registering and voting in the wrong place. That’s because voter ID laws target the imaginary problem of voter impersonation fraud, while doing next to nothing to address the fraud that actually occurs.
Fascinating, isn’t it, this peek inside the conservative soul, and the values that are reflected in the laws they champion. Mitch Daniels spent all that time and energy restricting ballot access for ordinary voters, and his top elections official was pulling stuff like this right under his nose. Some voters are more equal than others, I guess.