Governor Mitch Daniels called for Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) to step down following a grand jury indictment. White was indicted on seven felony charges Thursday, including voter fraud, theft and perjury.
White is accused of voting in the wrong precinct during the May 2010 primary among several other charges. He is accused ofusing his ex-wife's address to vote. White maintains he was the victim of an innocent mistake.
A warrant was issued for the following felony charges:
- Fradulent voter registration, Class D Felony
- Two counts of Perjury, Class D Felony
- Voting outside of precinct resident, Class D Felony
- Procuring a fraudulent ballot, Class D Felony
- Theft, Class D Felony
- Fraud on a financial institution, Class C Felony
“This news is sad and regrettable, but the only course of honor is for Mr. White to step down from his duties, at least during the duration of these proceedings until a verdict is reached. It would be neither credible nor appropriate for the state’s top elections official to continue to perform his duties while contesting criminal charges, some of them under the very laws the Secretary of State implements. I have consulted with each of the other statewide elected officials and our judgment about this is unanimous,” Daniels said in a released statement.
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb echoed Daniels' statement.
"What we learned today is disappointing. We think it's appropriate Secretary of State Charlie White take a leave of absence from his official duties until the legal process reaches a conclusion," Holcomb said.
Democrats have been pushing for White to be removed from his post since allegations emerged.
"The judicial system has validated what we have believed all along: Charlie White should never have been on the ballot as a candidate for public office," said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker. "Much like his voting record, White's entire campaign was a fraud. This situation is deeply embarrassing for the State of Indiana and our democratic process."
White turned himself into the Hamilton County jail where he was processed and released after posting a $10,000 bond.
White won by a large margin during the November 2010 election. If convicted White would have to step down as Indiana Secretary of State.
White himself issued a statement, saying "I believe the evidence will prove that I did not intentionally break any laws. But more importantly, I will continue to do the job I was elected to do and carry on serving the needs of Hoosier taxpayers."
Former Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R) also issued a statement, siding with Governor Daniels that White should step down:
"Today's announcement is sad news for Indiana. As the former Secretary of State and a current Representative of the people of Indiana, I agree with Governor Daniels that Secretary White cannot credibly or adequately do his duties while contesting criminal charges. Mr. White should step down until the charges are adjudicated."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times