INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Secretary of State is the chief elections officer in Indiana, and both of the major party candidates in that race are now accused of violating Indiana election laws.
Democrat Beth White launched the first attack in what has been, until now, a lackluster campaign. Republicans deflected it and responded with an attack of their own.
White came to the Statehouse to accuse Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson of taking part in a scheme to intimidate voters. It has to do with the state records for voter registration.
White said that in two southern Indiana counties, voters on an inactive list have been informed that their votes on mail-in absentee ballots are being challenged.
“This is an outrageous violation,” she said, “and a failed leadership on the part of our Secretary of State.”
“There has not been a single challenge to any vote at this point in time,” said State GOP Chairman Tim Berry, who responded on Lawson’s behalf.
He produced a copy of a letter by the state Democratic chairman requesting the same information that triggered the White attack and insisted that everything is on the up and up.
“When you have an individual that is questioning these types of ballots,” he said of White, “it calls into question whether she would uphold election laws of the state of Indiana if she was elected as Secretary of State.”
And Republicans pointed out that postcards distributed by the White campaign don’t bear the required disclaimer that tells voters who paid for them.
It’s a charge White couldn’t duck. “When we sent the information to the printer, it had the disclaimer,” she said. “They were printed without the disclaimer. I take responsibility for that.”
The postcards are no longer being distributed.
Beth White is a Democrat in a Republican state who is trying to energize her base by questioning the integrity of both her opponent and the GOP.
This effort may have backfired, but you can be sure that it won’t be the only one.