The Indiana Supreme Court raised several questions about voter registration laws during a hearing Wednesday to determine if Charlie White was eligible to run for secretary of state in 2010. But those questions might not be enough for the state’s highest court to order White’s removal from the office. The Indiana Supreme Court has never ousted an elected official because of an election challenge. Supreme Court justices typically defer to voters, said Joel Schumm, a professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. It seems likely they will do so in this case, Schumm said, especially since White’s voting issues were well-publicized before the election, and he won by a large margin anyway. If the Supreme Court rules against White, the Democrat who lost to him by more than 300,000 votes in November 2010 could take office.
… During Wednesday’s hearing, attorneys for White, the Recount Commission and the Democrats debated several issues, including whether the law required White to be legally registered to vote, whether he was legally registered to vote and whether the Democrats’ complaint was filed in a timely manner. The justices asked several questions about the attorneys’ arguments and also asked them to respond to a half-dozen or more hypothetical situations about voter registration.
“This panel was incredibly active today,” said attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman, who’s representing the Democrats. “There were questions there that we didn’t anticipate, questions there that we did anticipate, and it was very nice to be involved in such an intellectual discussion of the law, quite honestly.” Attorney David Brooks, who’s representing White, said he was encouraged by the Supreme Court’s questions.