For months, Secretary of State Charlie White tried to fend off Democrats’ challenge to his eligibility to hold office. He also tried to secure a promise that what he said during an election hearing Tuesday couldn’t be used against him in an ongoing criminal investigation in Hamilton County.
But when the Indiana Recount Commission hearing began, White seemed only too happy to provide the details of his personal life that are related to that challenge.
However, those details seemed to do little to conclusively answer the question Democrats are raising: Was White illegally registered to vote when he ran for office?
The Democrats claim White shouldn’t have been registered to vote at his ex-wife’s address at the time he declared his candidacy. They say he should be removed from office and that Vop Osili, his Democratic opponent, should replace him.
White said Tuesday that he considered his ex-wife’s home to be his permanent address. However, he admitted he kept most of his clothes in his car and rotated among as many as three residences, including a condo he now shares with his current wife.
His ex-wife and current wife corroborated his story as they testified Tuesday before the Indiana Recount Commission, which has been charged with reviewing the Democrats’ complaint.
Ironically, both the Democrats and White think the testimony supports their cases.
“The evidence was overwhelming that . . . his principal place of residence (was) at his ex-wife’s house,” said White’s attorney, Jim Bopp, who pointed to testimony from White and his current and former wives, as well as documents on which White listed that address.
But the Democrats disagree.
“They provided really nothing to prove that (his ex-wife’s home) was his permanent residence,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said. “He (White) stayed there occasionally. His ex-wife said that he was there once in a while.”
The seven-hour hearing concluded Tuesday. The commission will have to pick a side before next week, when it’s scheduled to announce a decision.