A Marion County judge on Thursday denied Secretary of State Charlie White’s request to halt a challenge by Democrats to his eligibility to hold office. The state Democratic Party claims White, who faces seven felony charges, including three of voter fraud, isn’t eligible for office because he wasn’t legally registered to vote when he declared his candidacy. White, a Republican, had asked the court to delay the challenge until the Hamilton County criminal case is resolved.
But Marion Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg said Thursday there’s no guarantee that White’s criminal trial will be held Aug. 8 as scheduled, so the civil challenge could be drawn out indefinitely if it hinged on the resolution of the criminal case.
“The public interest is in resolving this matter,” Rosenberg said, adding that uncertainty about White’s eligibility is “impairing” the operation of his office.
James Bopp, who’s representing White in the civil challenge, argued that because both cases involve the legality of White’s voter registration, allowing the civil case to proceed could jeopardize his right not to incriminate himself.
After Thursday’s ruling, Bopp said there’s no evidence the office is suffering and that White will appeal the ruling.