Allegations before the Indiana Recount Commission on Tuesday boiled down to whether Charlie White lived with his ex-wife or in a home he purchased to be with his fiancée when he ran for office in 2010.
That issue alone could decide whether he was legally registered to vote – and therefore hold the office of secretary of state that he won later that year. The panel won’t render a decision until a June 30 hearing.
White is accused of intentionally voting in a precinct where he no longer lived, and he is fighting two battles simultaneously. On the criminal side, he faces seven felony counts including voter fraud and perjury. If convicted of a felony, he must resign and the governor would appoint a successor.
On the civil side, Democrats have forced a recount hearing in which a three-member panel controlled by Republicans will rule on the issue. If he is booted from the ballot retroactively, Democrat Vop Osili – who came in second in the contest – would take over the office.
White testified that he leased, then bought, a condo on Overview Drive in Fishers in late 2009/early 2010. He said his fiancée and her children moved into the condo, but he didn’t join them until they were married in late May 2010.
This conflicted with what he told reporters in September 2010 – that he moved into the Overview condo in March 2010.
“We did not have a family until we got married and (my fiancée) was not going to let me live there full time until we got married,” he said. “I was honoring her request.”
In the meantime, he said he had 24-hour access to his ex-wife’s home where his son lived, and he claimed that as his residence. It was on Broadleaf Lane.
He used a code to get into the garage and slept in the basement, which he acknowledged as “atypical.”
He changed his voter registration information to Broadleaf in late February 2010 – just a few days before he closed on the Overview condo. He later voted from the Broadleaf address in May 2010, which is the basis of the criminal voter fraud charge.
Testimony showed that some mail went to his ex-wife’s address on Broadleaf, such as credit card bills, official correspondence with the Indiana Supreme Court and bank statements.
But other mail he had sent to Overview – including his final paycheck from a state job, utilities for the condo and bills from his wedding.
He also listed the Overview condo as his address when he took a new job with a law firm in early 2010.
White’s attorney Jim Bopp argued the case is all about intent and that White intended to reside with his son at his ex-wife’s home until he was married and moved his principal residence to Overview.
But Democratic attorneys pointed out that White’s mortgage application listed the Overview condo as his present address – he rented it for several months before buying it. A homestead deduction also was filed for the Overview condo.
White said he had someone else prepare those documents and he didn’t read them before signing.