Democrats Will Gain Secretary of State's Office If White Is Disqualified
House Republicans strip Senate proposal to let Gov. Daniels pick successor
|Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White
Republicans are backing off a proposal to ensure Governor Daniels picks the next Secretary of State if Charlie White is forced from office.
White is facing seven felony counts linked to his use of his ex-wife's address on his voter registration. Daniels already gets to replace White if he resigns or is convicted of a felony. But Democrats are arguing White's flawed registration makes him ineligible to have run in the first place. If the Indiana Recount Commission agrees, current law would make Democratic nominee Vop Osili the winner by default.
The Senate had voted to give Daniels the appointment power across the board. But Noblesville Representative Kathy Richardson says she's uncomfortable with intervening in a pending court case. She's rewritten that clause to apply only to future statewide elections, not to White.
The bill still faces further negotiations over other provisions, but Democratic Senator Tim Lanane says he's satisfied with that solution to the White issue.
The bill still would eliminate the possibility of Republicans losing their major-party status if White is disqualified.
Richardson says the runner-up provision does need to be changed for future elections. She says it's one thing to award victory to a second-place candidate in a local race, but notes Osili lost by nearly 350,000 votes.
The bill would give the governor the power to fill a vacancy in the offices of secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, state school superintendent, or attorney general, regardless of how the vacancy occurs.
The state recount commission plans a hearing next Wednesday to discuss how to proceed on the challenge to White's eligibility.