The Recount Commission ruled Tuesday that Charlie White is eligible to hold office despite felony charges of voter fraud. The unanimous 3-0 vote means that White will be able to keep his position as Secretary of State for now.
Democrat attorneys had accused White of illegally voting in the May 2010 primary. White said that he was living in his ex-wife's basement at the time he registered to vote in February of 2010 for the May primary election.
If he had been living at a new home that he'd purchased for himself and his now-current wife, which sits outside his Fisher's City Council district, he would have had to give up his seat on that council.
Afterwards, surrounded by his current wife and his lawyers, White said it felt like the election victory,
"I was very humbled by that win," he said. "Today I'm also very humbled that we were able to get a 3-0 decision as they applied the facts to the case law that is correct case law as well as to the statutes."
White refused to respond to some critical comments from the Commission given after their decision.
"I'm a little disturbed to hear that the person who is the Chief Election Officer in the State of Indiana has let himself get into this situation," Indiana Recount Commission Chair Tom Wheeler said. "I think you were treading on the line."
The commission said the Democrats failed to prove White had an intent to commit voter fraud. They said their decision was due mainly to a lot of ambiguity in the laws.
The chair of the commission went on to call for the state legislature to update the law so that it is clearer where people are living and where they are not living. The commission said the existing laws are so antiquated that they do not reflect today's reality of blended families and dissolved marriages.
The chair went on to say that the Democrat attorneys' task of proving White's intent was nearly impossible due to the large margin of victory White received. They said with a 335,000 vote margin, the burden of proof was higher than if the election had been only by a few votes.
Democrats said the ruling still hurts White.
"Given the admonition he just got from the Chairman of the Commission, I think he has absolutely no credibility to enforce the election laws of the state," Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker said.
Democrats said they still believe White is guilty despite the comission's decision.
"The criminal investigators have had a lot more time a lot more resources," said Lead Counsel for the Democrats, Karen Celestino-Horseman, "Knowing what I know from what we've looked at, I will not be surprised when Charlie White is convicted."
White still faces seven felony counts including three for election fraud, though. He goes to trial on those felony charges in August.