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Our view: Charlie White case gets pulled three ways

Charlie White

Charlie White

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THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Updated: March 11, 2012 8:33AM



Even now, with his conviction on six felony charges involving voting issues, Indiana Republican Secretary of State Charlie White — the state’s top election official — is trying to hold on to the office to which he was elected in 2010.

Indeed, even as his attorney prepares to ask that his crimes be reduced to misdemeanors so he could retain the office, Indiana’s two major political parties are winding up for a fight to name his replacement.

In the meantime, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed White’s chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, acting secretary of state, but is holding off on making a permanent appointment, pending White’s appeal. Sentencing in a Hamilton County court is set for Feb. 23. But Democrats are going to court now to argue that White’s Democratic opponent in 2010, Vop Osili, should be declared secretary of state. Osili lost by nearly 300,000 votes.

A circuit judge in Marion County ordered the state to declare Osili the winner in December, saying White was not an eligible candidate because he had lied on a voter registration form. However, Judge Louis Rosenberg, has stayed his order pending appeal.

So, what will it be? Republicans say Daniels should name White’s replacement; Democrats say his opponent in the 2010 election automatically should become secretary of state.

The Indiana Supreme Court likely will decide, unless the trial judge surprises us, reduces the charges to misdemeanors, and White remains in office. Now wouldn’t that be embarrassing?

— Evansville Courier & Press



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