Ind. AG asks state SC to hear appeal over ballot eligibility

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jan 12, 2012


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is asking the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal over the current secretary of state's ballot eligibility.

Last month, the Marion County Circuit Court reversed a ruling by the state Recount Commission on Secretary of State Charles White's eligibility, but stayed the ruling pending appeal by the commission and other litigants.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Parker had petitioned for an election contest to the commission, seeking a declaration that White was ineligible because he was not properly registered to vote.

The commission had unanimously ruled that White, a Republican, was eligible for the 2010 ballot.

"The Party alleged not that White was unregistered, but rather that White's registration was no longer 'legal' due to his having moved his residence without amending his voter registration," according to the commission's seven-page motion, filed Monday.

The Attorney General's Office -- which represents only the recount commission and not White -- asked that the case be transferred directly to the state's highest court.

"All involved parties -- the Party, Secretary White, the Commission, the Circuit Court and the public -- likely agree that this case presents an emergency requiring this Court's speedy determination of the important legal questions needed to be correctly and finally decided before a person elected to statewide office is removed due to an election contest," it wrote.

In a statement earlier this week, Zoeller said it is "in the public's interest" that the question of whether a statewide candidate was eligible for the ballot be decided with "certainty" and "finality."

"In this rare circumstance, my office has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take this case directly," he said.

"In our role defending the legal authority of state administrative boards, we will vigorously contend the Recount Commission's unanimous decision was correct and ought not to have been reversed."

The Court has not yet decided whether to take the case.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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