Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled late Thursday that Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was ineligible to hold the office and ordered he must vacate it and the seat goes to Democratic challenger Vop Osili. White had come under fire for voting from a precinct where he did not live. White had argued it was an honest mistake because he was moving and starting a new life. The Indiana Election Recount Commission had agreed, unanimously, with White and ruled he was eligible to serve.
In his opinion Judge Rosenberg said despite the error, “The fact that Mr. White knowingly registered in the wrong precinct is sufficient to render him ineligible for the office of Secretary of State.”
A spokesman for the Recount Commission said the board plans to appeal the decision as well as ask for an emergency stay of the order. Regardless, nothing is going to happen immediately as the State of Indiana is closed until Tuesday because of the Christmas holiday. In addition, there would have to be 48 hours notice of any Commission hearing, so the earliest the Commission could meet would be Thursday.
A spokesman for the White said the finding by Judge Rosenberg was “unprecedented”. He also said that White plans to continue to serve until this entire matter has played itself out.”
A copy of Judge Rosenberg’s order can be found here. Vop Osili has reportedly already signed an oath of office for his District 15 Council seat.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he will appeal the decision. He issued a statement saying the following.
“One obligation of our office is to represent state government boards such as the Indiana Recount Commission in lawsuits, and when a board’s unanimous administrative decision is overturned by a court, the order should be reviewed by a higher court. We will seek a stay of the court’s ruling and are in communication with our client the Recount Commission to discuss the process of an appeal.”