Indiana sec. of state convicted of voter fraud

Indianaâ www.in.gov

Charlie White
www.in.gov

Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White -- the man charged with upholding election integrity in Indiana -- was convicted of six felonies on Saturday, including three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count of theft.

White, a Republican, could face up to three years in prison for each of the counts, the Indianapolis Star reports, and will be sentenced on February 23. The charges were based on accusations that White lied about where he lived while campaigning for secretary of state. The jury ruled he lied in order to keep receiving his salary from the Fishers Town Council even though he had moved out of his district.

Voter identification laws have become a popular cause among Republicans, and Indiana is one of nine states currently subject to these laws. Their supporters say they help prevent fraud, but opponents say requiring identification to vote places an unfair burden on young, low-income, and minority voters. Recently, the Justice Department stepped in to block South Carolina's new voter ID law.

The liberal blog ThinkProgress notes that a now-removed 2010 campaign website for White listed "election integrity" as one of the "major issues" of his campaign. "Charlie will protect and defend Indiana's Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting," the website said.

White has asked for his charges to be reduced to misdemeanors, the Star reports, in which case he could possibly be reinstated to his job as Indiana secretary of state. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed an interim secretary of state but said in a statement, "I have chosen not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge's authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder."

However, White could lose his job due to a pending civil court challenge from the Indiana Democratic Party. The party argues that White is ineligible to serve because he was fraudulently registered to vote at the wrong address.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, White said the verdict "was a total miscarriage of justice and a perversion. The law allows me to do everything I did and the jury did not get all the law."

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