Okay. Lets break this Charlie White thing down. First lets review some of Mary Beth Schneider’s well done piece from the IndyStar.com for background:
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker today charged that the Republican nominee for secretary of state, Charlie White, committed voter fraud when he voted in May’s primary election in a precinct in which he does not live.Parker also sent letters to Secretary of State Todd Rokita, Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp and Gov. Mitch Daniels — all Republicans — asking them to investigate and asking Daniels to release all state records, such as driver’s license information, which would provide information about White’s addresses.
Parker pointed out that Indiana law makes it a Class D felony to knowingly vote in any precinct except the one in which the voter is both registered and resides.
White refused to answer questions about whether he’d voted in a precinct in which he did not live.
Instead, his campaign issued a statement saying that “it’s unfortunate that a set of personal and family-related circumstances created this scenario, but the simple fact is that Charlie was entitled under law to vote one last time at his old polling location. The only issue here pertains to filing a change of address for his voter registration form, an oversight that has been previously brought up and already fixed. Charlie has repeatedly taken full responsibility for the any mistakes he may have made and has taken all the steps necessary to correct them.”
It is questionable, though, whether state allow allows White to “vote one last time at his old polling location.” Indiana code says a voter who moves 30 days before an election may vote if they make an oral or written affirmation of their current address to poll clerks.
White apparently moved in March, more than 30 days, and there was no immediate information that he informed poll clerks of his address change in that May primary.
Parker, though, found that lame, especially from a man running to be Indiana’s chief elections officer.
“It is our clear opinion that Mr. White has committed voter fraud when he voted in the May primary 2010 — when he voted from the Broad Leaf address when he did not live there,” Parker said.
And, Parker said, Rokita, also a Republican, has made fighting voter fraud a top priority in office, including pushing for and winning passage of a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. He should not turn a blind eye now, Parker said, to this case.
Parker released a timeline showing that White voted in the November 2006 general election, using an address on Broad Leaf Lane in Fishers. In January 2007, he transferred that property to a former spouse and in 2007 and 2008 voted in elections citing a Pintail Drive residence.
In November 2009, he voted in a special election, signing a voter registration book stating the need to re-register to his new address.
In February 2010, White completed a new voter registration, citing Broad Leaf Lane as his address, but the same month closed on the sale of a new condo at Overview Drive in Fishers. In May, though, White voted in the primary election, citing Broad Leaf Lane as his address. And in June, when he filed his candidacy for secretary of state, he listed his residence as Overview Drive, but listed his mailing address as Broad Leaf Lane.
Not until last week did White re-register to vote, listing Overview Drive as his residence.
The same day he resigned from the Fishers Town Council, acknowledging that he’d moved outside his district. The new address is some five miles outside the district.
I don’t know about you folks, but when I go to the polls and vote, I try to answer the questions they ask me and I try to make sure they have my information right. It is just something that occurs to me as I go through the process.I try to think about the process.
Sure we are all human, but these are not simple foibles like forgetting to pick-up the laundry because you are swamped at work. I have had my own brain slippage on election day.
I once walked into a polling place to vote and became peeved and then a bit perturbed when they didn’t have my name on the pollbook. They then asked my address and they instructed me that that is another polling station. I had moved in the last year and had re-registered after my move, but got in my truck and drove on auto-pilot to my old polling station and they did have me on the pollbook at the new polling place. All was correct and, while I was a bit embarrassed, the system performed correctly.
But if you are Charlie White, who holds elected position in a districted seat on a town council and you helped re-write the district boundaries and have set your eyes on serving as the state of Indiana’s chief election officer, then I should hope as you walk into the you ask yourself a few questions:
- Gosh, I hope that I can get this voting done quick, I got important shopping to do.
- Hold on. Do I still live in the district? Wait, didn’t I help draft these districts?
- Gosh, I should check before I vote if my new home is in the district from which I serve the citizens of Fishers who pay me a healthy stipend for the honor. Am I five miles outside the district? Naw, can’t be that far.
- Oh that’s right, I took care of this by moving back in with my ex-wife right before the election so my address was still in the district, not way across town where my new condo is. Boy it sure is cool of my fiance to let me go back to co-habitating with the ex-missus just a couple months before our nuptials! Golly, better not tell a lot of folks about that situation. They might get the wrong idea about my family values.
- Mental note: Really gotta find time to buckle down and read them election laws. Especially the voter fraud provisions. My party is gonna expect me to hold the fire to those Democrats. We gotta use every loophole we have to make sure we can throw out votes from those strong Democratic precincts.
- Hey, if I committed voter fraud, that couldn’t nullify my candidacy for Secretary of State could it? Yep, definitely gotta take the time to read those pesky election laws.
- Gee-Whiz, it is gonna RAAAWWWK to be in charge of that there election stuff. Oh, it’s my turn…
“Yes ma’am, I still live at…”
That last bit about endangering the candidacy is more interesting now that State Democratic Chair has asked the SoS office to investigate whether Charlie White can even stand as a candidate for SoS. WISH TV reports it like this:
“We’ll handle it like any other request,” he (SoS Rokita) said.
He’s talking about the request from state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker, who says White committed fraud when he listed his ex-wife’s house on his voter registration for the May primary while he lived in a new townhouse. Using his ex-wife’s address allowed the GOP secretary of state candidate to remain on the Fishers Town Council after moving out of his district.
“I don’t know if there’s any evidence here yet in those kinds of situations,” says Rokita, “but my office has been directed by me personally to take a look.”
And now Parker has a new charge. He says that because White listed one address on his voter registration and another on his candidacy form, he violated a law that requires candidates to be properly registered.
“So the question now becomes and needs to be part of Todd Rokita’s investigation, is Charlie White a legitimate candidate for secretary of state?” Parker said.
Rokita says he will judge the matter fairly.
“I’m always judging cases that have to do with members of my party and no one can ever put on me in my record the fact that I’ve been biased,” he said. But he also says he will consider the source of the allegations.
If Rokita finds fraud, he has no power to punish White. He can, however, relay that finding to a prosecutor or the state election commission with a recommendation that they take action.
That last bit by Rokita is just more Republican hyperbolic bullshit.
He, as SoS, has no “judging” to do. This whole matter won’t ever get touched by Rokita except to spin it for his congressional campaign. By law this whole matter will be investigated by the Indiana Election Division staff who do serve as part of the SoS office, but the “judging” will fall to the Indiana Election Commission. A four-member body made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, neither of which is named Rokita and the SoS doesn’t even have a tie-breaking vote.
Which brings us to the ultimate shame of all this. The Election Commission is not going to meet, because the Republicans will stay away until after election day and wont’t give the matter a hearing. Mainly due to the SoS status as a the Indiana House of Representatives tiebreaker. If the Rs gain enough to hold 50 seats after the election, the Speaker of the House position is determined by which party holds the SoS seat.
It is all very interesting and labyrinthine, but ultimately nothing will happen in those processes. So it is up to the voters.
Hey voters! How do you feel about voter fraud?