The chief election official in the very first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions --- under the guise of preventing "voter fraud" --- has been found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud today.
In an early morning verdict following 12 hours of deliberation, a jury in Hamilton County found Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White guilty of three counts of voter fraud related to having voted in a precinct where he did not live and where he was illegally registered to vote. The Hoosier State's controversial first-in-the-nation Photo ID restrictions, originally implemented in 2008, did nothing to prevent either White's illegal registration or his unlawful vote for himself as Secretary of State in 2010 when he was elected to office.
Of the seven criminal felony counts White had been charged with in March of 2011, the jury also found him guilty of three other Class D felonies related to perjury and theft, while clearing him of one Class C felony for fraud on a financial institution.
White has vowed to appeal the decision in hopes of lowering the convictions to misdemeanor charges, rather than felonies.
Under Indiana law, a felony conviction makes White ineligible to serve in state office and would create a vacancy to be filled by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. However, even if today's felony charges are upheld, the fight over who will replace White as Indiana's chief election official is likely to continue for some time, since a separate recent ruling against him in a related civil case could take precedence over today's verdict.
Republicans are hoping Daniels will be allowed to name White's replacement, even though a judge last December ordered White immediately removed from office and replaced by his Democratic opponent from the 2010 election, after determining that White had been illegally on the ballot in the first place thanks to his improper registration.
White's conviction is the latest in what is shaping up as spate of voter fraud convictions, allegations, and investigations of high profile GOP officials, including allegations against several of the party's 2012 Presidential candidates...