Bil Browning

Republicans Finally Found a Real Case of Voter Fraud

Filed By Bil Browning | February 06, 2012 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Charlie White, Indiana, Secretary of State, voter fraud, Voter ID

One of the reasons I was upset about Indiana's erasure from Rea Carey's State of the Movement address was because of her statement that LGBT people should oppose Voter ID laws. Indiana was the first state to pass such a stringent law and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court where our side lost. Opponents of the law sought the assistance of many civil rights groups, but LGBT orgs decided to stay out of the fray - until it was years too late.

In September of 2010, I reported here and at the Huffington Post that the man who wanted to be responsible for handling Indiana's election laws, then-candidate for Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, had actually committed voter fraud by registering and voting from an address where he didn't live.

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White, a strong proponent of the Voter ID law, won the election but, oh, what a difference a year and a half can make. While there were no cases of voter fraud in Indiana before the law passed, now Republicans can say there's been a criminal conviction. Charlie White.

More after the jump.

A Marion County judge ruled that White was ineligible to run for the office since he wasn't actually a registered voter and decreed that Democrat candidate Vop Oslii should have been the victor. He stayed the decision until White could appeal it to the state Supreme Court.

Last week, however, brought us White's criminal trial for the fraud accusations. Again, vindication is mine. White was convicted of six out of seven class D felony charges - and, therefore, lost his job as a convicted felon.

Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was convicted of six felonies early this morning, and consequently lost his job.

But the Republican could get it back soon.

White, 42, Fishers, plans to ask a judge to reduce his convictions - all class D felonies - to misdemeanors at sentencing. It's uncertain whether that move would allow him to reclaim his job.

"We don't know the right answer to that," White said. "This is all very new."

Shortly after White's verdict was read, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced in a news release shortly before 3 a.m. that he has appointed Jerry Bonnet, White's chief deputy, as interim secretary of state.

"I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge's authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder," the Republican governor said in the news release. "If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly."

Daniels had previous called on White to resign after the first judge's decision, but White refused and has filed spurious cases of voter fraud against prominent Democratic politicians - all of which were thrown out.

While Daniels has the authority to name a new Secretary of State if the current office holder is convicted of a crime, the earlier judge's decision that the Democrat should be awarded the office is still being appealed. If the state Supreme Court finds with the lower court, Daniels won't have any choice but to allow Oslii to assume the office.

"This is an important day for Indiana Democrats. It's vindication for more than a year's worth of effort to know that Charlie committed a crime and will be punished for that crime," Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker in a statement e-mailed to Bilerico Project. "The shame of the crime is that Hoosiers have had a public servant in office for more than a year whose recklessness and criminal behavior has tarnished our third highest state office.

"It's obvious that Mitch Daniels will try anything to take back this fraudulent election, but there's only one thing that should happen now: Vop Osili should become Secretary of State, and we should put the embarrassment that is Charlie White behind us."

White's chances of convincing the criminal court judge to lower the charges are slim. Whether the office goes to Oslii or Daniel's choice, one thing is for certain: Republicans finally found a case of voter fraud in Indiana. It was a Republican they chose to enforce election law.

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