(AP) — The Indiana Recount Commission cleared Republican Secretary of State
Charlie White of political wrongdoing Tuesday, but scolded him for coming
too close to the line.
The panel of two
Republicans and one Democrat voted unanimously that White had been eligible
to run for office in 2010, rebuffing a Democratic challenge to his candidacy
based on the allegation that he had illegally registered to vote at his
ex-wife’s address when he also had a condo with his then-fiancée.
they would review the finding and decide whether to file an appeal.
faces a criminal trial in August on voter fraud charges and perjury. A
conviction on any of the seven counts against him would be enough to oust
him from office and could put him in jail.
members said they wrestled with the legal question of intent, and concluded
that the Democrats couldn’t disprove White’s claim that he had stayed at his
ex-wife’s house but intended to move into the condo after he got married —
which he did.
Chairman Thomas Wheeler scolded White for skirting the edge of the law.
“I think you
were treading on the line,” Wheeler told White at the end of the two-hour
before the commission last week, White said his voter registration troubles
were a mistake stemming from a complicated personal life in which he was
trying to help raise his 10-year-old son, plan his second marriage and
campaign for the state’s top elections job.
Democratic commissioner Bernard Pylitt said the case showed that Indiana
campaign laws hadn’t kept pace with modern life and should take into account
the sometimes fluid living arrangements of the modern family.
"The problem is
these laws are antiquated ... they don’t reflect our current society,”
White agreed at
an impromptu news conference in his office after the hearing.
“We have a lot
of statutes that do not reflect how our society is today,” he said. “I think
there’s a lot of room for legislative change ... because the world as it is
today ... is not the world it was two decades ago when it comes to people
who are blending their families and putting their children first.”
White said he
was relieved by the commission’s vote but declined to respond to Wheeler’s
Democratic Party chairman made it clear he disagrees with the commission’s
“I believe that
from a layman’s perspective, not a lawyer’ his ex-wife’s house was a hotel
and he checked in there a couple of nights a week. So what this commission
is saying is that you can register to vote at a temporary location if you’re
sleeping there a couple of nights a week,” Dan Parker said. “So watch out
for all these people who are going to register at a Holiday Inn Express.”
Parker said it
was clear that White intended to live in the condo but registered to vote at
his ex-wife’s address so he could keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council.
Democratic Party had wanted the Recount Commission to find that White should
be replaced by Democrat Vop Osili, whom White defeated by a large margin