April 7, 2011 / 9:45 PM / in 7 years

Indiana secretary of state election must be reconsidered: court

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - An Indiana commission must reconsider whether the embattled Secretary of State had a legal right to be on the ballot when he was elected last November, an Indianapolis judge ruled on Thursday.

Democrats have claimed that Charlie White, a Republican who was indicted for voter fraud and other felony counts last month, is not qualified to serve.

Marion County Circuit Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled on Thursday that Indiana Democratic Party Chair Daniel Parker was “substantially prejudiced” when the state’s Recount Commission granted White’s motion to dismiss a claim against White last December.

Rosenberg, a Democrat, advised the commission to act as “expeditiously as possible.”

“The Indiana political system and its credibility is at stake,” Rosenberg said.

Prosecutors allege White intentionally voted in the wrong precinct during the May 2010 primary. White said he mistakenly registered to vote at a former address.

The Democrats say that if White wasn’t on the ballot legally, the second top vote getter, Democrat Vop Osili, should be named the elected secretary of state.

Parker said after the hearing that he had no opportunity to present his case before the Commission before it made its decision in December. “For the first time the facts are going to be able to come out,” he said.

Bradley Skolnik, the Recount Commission director, said the commissioners would study the court’s ruling before taking any action.

Writing and reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Tim Gaynor

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