Indiana’s top elections official could lose his job and his freedom after jurors convicted him of multiple voter fraud-related charges on Saturday, leaving in flux the fate of one of the state’s most powerful positions. Republican Secretary of State Charlie White has held on to his office for more than a year despite being accused of lying about his address on voter registration forms. A Hamilton County jury found White guilty of six of seven felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft and two counts of perjury. He was acquitted on one fraud charge. White expressed no outward emotion as the verdict was read, and later said outside the courtroom: “‘I’m disappointed for my family and the people who supported me.”
White and his attorneys said the fate of his elected post remains unknown and ultimately may have to be decided by the governor or state supreme court. “We will review our options,” he said.” White’s attorney, Carl Brizzi, said he will ask the judge to reduce the charges to misdemeanors because his client has no criminal background and has a long record of public service. The jury verdict came after a weeklong trial in which White, who had vigorously protested the charges in hearings before a state elections panel, presented no defense.
… Republican special prosecutor John Dowd said he’s also unsure about the fate of White’s position, but expressed satisfaction about the verdict. “We believe it was about someone who violated the law and cheated the system — and gamed the system,” Dowd said. “And, obviously, the jury thought the same way.” State law bars anyone convicted of a felony from remaining in office. It wasn’t immediately clear how quickly White could be replaced or who might succeed him.
A Marion County judge already has ruled that White should be replaced by Democrat Vop Osili, the man he defeated by about 300,000 votes in the November 2010 election, but that ruling is on hold pending an appeal. But state law allows the governor — in the case, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels — to appoint a successor. White has resisted calls to resign from Democrats and Republicans, including Daniels.