Let’s start here: If I’m Charlie White, I’m fighting like crazy for my job. If I’m Charlie White, one controversial year into my first term as Indiana’s secretary of state, I’m fighting like mad for my political career. If I’m Charlie White, I don’t want it to end like this.
But I’m not Charlie White. The real Charlie White is fighting like crazy, but he doesn’t seem to know that it’s all crashing down in ways that a political career can barely survive and in ways that expose Hoosier voters at a time when they need strong character leading the elections division at the Statehouse.
If I’m the Indiana voter — hey, that is me — I’m asking: Why is Charlie White still running this particular show?
Just to catch you up on news: White, the state’s top election official, has been hounded since before the November 2010 elections by accusations that he was illegally registered to vote.
It stems from when he moved from his ex-wife’s home while he kept his voter registration there. The state Democratic Party has challenged in civil proceedings whether he was properly registered to vote — a requirement to hold the secretary of state position.
Meanwhile, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted him on seven counts, including voter fraud, accusing him of intentionally voting in the wrong precinct and holding down his former position on the Fishers Town Council despite moving out of the town. That case is expected to be heard in late January.
Last week, Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg overruled an Indiana Recount Commission decision that White was in the clear. Rosenberg said White shouldn’t have been on the ballot and should be replaced as secretary of state.
It’s more complicated than that. Just when White leaves office — and it must be a matter of when, not if, at this point — makes a huge difference in who gets to arrange family photos on the secretary of state’s desk. If the civil complaint wins first, second-place finisher Vop Osili would be secretary of state. If White is convicted in criminal court, the governor would be allowed to pick his successor.