Whenever the commission makes a final determination under section 18(b) of this chapter that the candidate who is subject to a contest proceeding is not eligible to serve in the office to which the candidate is elected the following apply:Of foremost concern to Republicans is the impact the disqualification of White's election would have on the determination of the party's placement on the ballot and appointment of election board officials across the state upon which the secretary of state election results are determinative under Indiana's election law. Such a result would throw the next election into chaos. Moreover, if Democrats were to prevail, the Democratic candidate who received far fewer votes than White would be entitled to assume the office.
The office is considered vacant, and the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment as provided in IC 3-13-4-3.
I continue to believe the Indiana Supreme Court would ultimately rule that Democrats waited too late to contest this issue for purposes of an election contest as it did when Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke waited until after he was upset by Duke Bennett in the 2007 election to raise a Little Hatch Act violation by Bennett prior to his election. As was the case with Bennett, Democrats knew of the alleged violation by White before the election but did not seek a legal remedy until after he won the election overwhelmingly over Democrat Vop Osili. It seems the criminal remedy being pursued by a special prosecutor is the appropriate remedy for any criminal violation by White. If he is found guilty, he will be forced to resign the office, at which time Gov. Daniels would appoint his replacement.
What is a bit unusual about today's legislative action by the Senate is how it impacts a matter that is the subject of ongoing litigation. Under the leadership of long-time Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton, a senator was not permitted to offer an amendment to the law that would impact the outcome of a matter that was currently being litigated. Sen. Young's amendment would most certainly defeat any political gain the Democrats would have in pursuing an election contest to remove White from office. One could argue their continued pursuit of their election contest would be doing a favor to Republicans if this amendment becomes law. Many Republicans have called on White to resign, or at least step down from his official duties until the matter is resolved.