What’s a Little Voter Fraud Among Friends

Recent­ly, Indi­ana’s Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State, Char­lie White, was found guilty of vot­er fraud. Seems he was still vot­ing in his for­mer dis­trict where his ex-wife lived even after he had moved into anoth­er district.

Upon being con­vict­ed, he imme­di­ate­ly accused Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Daniels of vot­er fraud for vot­ing in the dis­trict con­tain­ing the gov­er­nor’s man­sion even though he nev­er moved into the man­sion and con­tin­ues to live in his own home (pos­si­bly because it is a nicer man­i­son? I have no idea) which is in anoth­er dis­trict. Whether there is any­thing to this, I do not know.

With the Indi­ana pri­ma­ry com­ing up in May, the bat­tle for Sen­a­tor Lugar to get through to the gen­er­al elec­tion is heat­ing up.  It is a bit of a “scan­dal” that Lugar sold his Indi­ana home back in 1977 and has lived in Wash­ing­ton ever since but he has con­tin­ued to vote in his old dis­trict! He has been reelect­ed five times. This has, to my knowl­edge, nev­er been an issue before.

Lugar’s spokesper­son said

It’s just like the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary. If you’re mil­i­tary per­son­nel and in defense of this coun­try, in ser­vice to this coun­try and you’re over­seas you keep your last place of residence.

TPM states that is “an accu­rate legal com­par­i­son based on the Indi­ana Con­sti­tu­tion. ” But they had to ask

is it fair to com­pare a politician’s time in Wash­ing­ton area to that of active-duty mil­i­tary personnel?

which strikes me as a dumb ques­tion. Although it did give the spokesman an oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain that no one was claim­ing Lugar’s time in Wash­ing­ton com­pared with the time a ser­vice­man or woman spends all over the globe.

Two years ago Dan Coats ran for the oth­er Indi­ana sen­ate seat. When the peti­tion to get his name on the bal­lot was being cir­cu­lat­ed, Coats was not eli­gi­ble to sign it, not being a res­i­dent of the state. He had pre­vi­ous­ly been one of Indi­ana’s sen­a­tors from 1990 to 1998 (and in the house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives pri­or to that). When Coats retired from the sen­ate in 1998, he nev­er moved back to Indi­ana. When he announced he was going to run in 2010 he was liv­ing in Mary­land. Vot­ers did not seem to care.

So the Indi­ana Sec­re­tary of State is con­vict­ed of vot­er fraud. The gov­er­nor of Indi­ana may or may not be guilty of vot­er fraud (and my bet is he is nev­er charged). Sen­a­tor Lugar is not guilty of vot­er fraud and has, at least so far, suc­cess­ful­ly made Hoosiers feel like he is rep­re­sent­ing them.

To my mind, Sen­a­tor Coats is guilty of the biggest scan­dal here. Sure, much of the time between his times on the Sen­ate he was still serv­ing the gov­ern­ment as ambas­sador to Ger­many. But then

In 2007, Coats served as co-chair­man of a team of lob­by­ists for Coop­er Indus­tries, a Texas cor­po­ra­tion that moved its prin­ci­pal place of busi­ness to Bermu­da, where it would not be liable for U.S. tax­es. He suc­cess­ful­ly blocked Sen­ate leg­is­la­tion that would have pre­vent­ed a tax loop­hole, worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to Coop­er Indus­tries.[16]

The NYT also report­ed that Coats was co-chair­man of the Wash­ing­ton gov­ern­ment rela­tions office of King & Spald­ing, with a salary of $603,609

I believe he was still lob­by­ing when he decid­ed to run for the sen­ate again. Hence the Mary­land address. Coats has man­aged to be a car­pet bag­ger in his home state.

Since Coats had no res­i­dence in Indi­ana to move away from, I won­der if he is eli­gi­ble to vote in Indi­ana. And if so, how is it decid­ed which dis­trict he votes in?