Indiana Secretary of State was not eligible for office: judge

INDIANAPOLIS Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:54pm EST

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INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was not eligible to run for the office he now holds and his opponent should be named the winner of the November 2010 election, an Indiana judge ruled.

The Republican secretary of state, who faces seven felony charges including vote fraud, defeated Democrat Vop Osili by more than 340,000 votes in the election. Opponents contended White was not properly registered as a candidate.

White was registered at his ex-wife's address when he voted in the May 2010 primary and was not registered at his address until after the deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy or certificate of nomination, Judge Louis Rosenberg found in a ruling dated December 21.

Rosenberg, a Marion County Circuit Court judge, reversed a 3-0 Indiana Recount Commission decision finding White eligible and returned the matter to the commission with instructions to certify Osili as secretary of state.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, representing the Recount Commission, will seek a stay of Rosenberg's ruling and is reviewing a possible appeal, spokesman Bryan Corbin said.

"Charlie White is the secretary of state and will continue to do the work of secretary of state as he has done since taking office, commission spokesman A.J. Feeney Ruiz said.

Democrats had said White did not change his address so he could retain a town council position. White has denied the allegations of voter fraud.

Indiana Democratic Chairman Dan Parker said the ruling validated months of efforts.

"As a result of his vote fraud, Charlie White was never eligible to be a candidate for this office, and he's done nothing but embarrass Hoosiers since wrongfully assuming the position," Parker said.

(Editing by David Bailey and Greg McCune)

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