Charlie White to stay in office pending eligibility appeal

2012-01-04T20:15:00Z 2012-01-05T13:50:19Z Charlie White to stay in office pending eligibility appealBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
January 04, 2012 8:15 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Secretary of State Charlie White will remain in office while appellate courts review a judge's ruling declaring the Republican was ineligible to run in 2010.

Marion County Judge Louis Rosenberg on Wednesday agreed to delay his order that directs the Indiana Recount Commission to name Democrat Vop Osili the winner of the secretary of state election. Osili was the second-place finisher.

Rosenberg said he granted White's request for a stay because of the "great and irreparable" consequences that would result if White were removed, Osili sworn in and Rosenberg's ruling later reversed by a higher court, which would restore White to office.

"Important decisions might be twice reversed causing confusion on many important issues," Rosenberg said.

He urged the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court to expedite their review of his ruling.

The judge rejected a request by the Indiana Democratic Party, which wants his stay order to include the condition that Osili would become secretary of state if White were to be removed from office upon conviction of a felony.

The Democratic Party is behind the challenge to White's eligibility.

White goes to trial Jan. 30 on seven felony charges, including voter fraud. If convicted on any of those counts, he automatically is removed from office under Indiana law.

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels then would appoint a replacement to finish White's term.

Rosenberg said the issue of who succeeds White if he's convicted of a felony is not relevant to whether White was eligible to run for office.

The Democrats are likely to challenge the legitimacy of a Daniels-appointed successor because Rosenberg ruled Dec. 22 that White was not registered properly to vote and therefore not eligible to run for secretary of state, Indiana's top elections official.

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