Supreme Court hears arguments on Charlie White replacement

February 29th, 2012 at 12:43 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Who will replace Charlie White in the office of Secretary of State? That question is in the hands of the state Supreme Court.

Democrats made their case this morning to have Vop Osili, the second leading vote-getter in the 2010 election, fill the vacancy created when Republican Charlie White was convicted of felonies including voter fraud.

Osili was among those in the courtroom as attorneys for the Democrats argued that Charlie White was not properly registered to vote in 2010 and therefore was ineligible to be on the ballot. Those attorneys faced tough questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the Supreme Court who said they are considering a different set of facts than those presented to the jury in White’s criminal case.

“He would still be registered to vote and that would be in the district he seeks to represent,” said Justice Brent Dickson at one point. “Why would that not be a valid candidacy?”

“He was not legally registered to vote in the state of Indiana and was, in fact, fraudulently and falsely registered,” said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a Democratic Party attorney.

After the hearing Osili said he still hopes to become Secretary of State. “I trust our Supreme Court Justices to have heard the facts as presented and to make the case,” he said, “and to make a clear decision.”

Jerry Bonnet, the interim Secretary of State was also in the courtroom this morning. If the Democrats lose this case the governor will likely replace Bonnet with another Republican. There is no indication when the court may rule.

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