It's most definitely turning out to be a "White Christmas" for Democrats in the Hoosier State this week!
Some remarkable news late today. Finding he was not eligible to be a candidate on the ballot in the November 2010 election, a Marion County Circuit judge has ordered Indiana's Republican Sec. of State Charlie White removed from office and replaced by his Democratic challenger Vop Isili, the second highest vote getter in that election.
The order comes as part of a civil suit brought by the state Democratic Party which has long charged, both before and ever since the election, that White was not eligible to be a candidate on the ballot.
Judge Louis Rosenberg's ruling today overturns a previous determination by the Republican-majority Indiana Recount Commission, which had initially dismissed the Dems contest, but then took it up again after being ordered to do so by the court. The Recount Commission --- on which White himself is a member, though he recused himself from this case --- had found in a unanimous 3-0 decision that White was eligible to serve. Today's decision overturns that Commission's ruling and is likely to be challenged at a higher court.
Separately, White still faces seven criminal felony charges, including three of them for voter fraud, related to the fact that he did not live at the address where he was registered to vote in the 2010 election. As he was not a properly registered Indiana voter, he was not eligible to be a candidate on the ballot, Rosenberg has ruled. Moreover, at the time of his election, White was a member of the Fishers Town Council --- a town in which he no longer lived since separating from his wife and moving out of her house, where he remained registered to vote, several years earlier. Democrats charge he retained his registration at the house so that he could continue to collect his salary as a Council Member.
Since divorcing his wife White had remarried and purchased a condominium in a different town, but claimed the reason he stayed registered at his former wife's house was because he had hoped to move back some day. The Indiana Recount Commission accepted that explanation. The Marion County Circuit judge, apparently, did not.
The stunning turn of events, along with additional bad news that White received earlier this week in his separate criminal case, where he is facing seven felony charges, all serves to highlight no small amount of irony in the Hoosier State, where the first polling place Photo ID restriction law to pass U.S. Supreme Court muster, under the disingenuous claim of fighting "voter fraud", has been used as a model for similar laws across the country ever since. The ruling, if it is not overturned on appeal, could also turn out to have very far reaching consequences on all Republican officials statewide...