Sunday, April 15, 2012

Madison Co. Clerk Says McIntosh Residence Not Unusual

The chief elections officer and county clerk of Madison County, Darlene Likens, says Fifth District congressional candidate David McIntosh's voting residence at an Anderson home where he doesn't live is not unusual. “It’s not unusual for federal candidates to try and cover the bases," Likens told the Anderson Herald Bulletin. "They have a residence where they come home so they can run again.” Likens' analysis apparently doesn't consider the fact that McIntosh hasn't been a federal candidate since he gave up his former 6th District House seat in 2000 to run for governor. Likens, a Republican, is backing McIntosh in the crowded Fifth District race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Dan Burton. Likens told the newspaper that she was unsure whether the county elections board of which she is a member would meet to hear a complaint challenging McIntosh's voting residency before the state's May 8th primary election.

In the story titled, "Residency issues continue to dog congressional candidate David McIntosh," reporter Stephen Dick notes that McIntosh has lived in Arlington, Virginia since 2005 when he sold his Muncie home and moved his family there to work for as a lobbyist for a Washington, D.C. law firm, Mayer Brown & Platt. “It looked to me as if McIntosh already lived in Virginia; his kids go to private school and his wife is active in the Episcopal church,” Greg Wright, the citizen activist who filed the complaint told Dick. McIntosh has acknowledged that he obtained a Virginia driver's license after being stopped for a traffic offense by a Virginia police officer and told he needed a Virginia driver's license, which can only be issued to persons who declare themselves residents of that state. Unlike McIntosh, his wife Ruthie votes in Virginia. Wright's complaint included a letter dated July 14, 2011 from Citizens United's David Bossie urging McIntosh to run for Congress in Virginia's Eighth District where he lives. Wright's complaint notes that McIntosh also owns a Florida vacation home and has the tax bills for that home mailed to his Virginia address.

When McIntosh first sold his home in Muncie, he registered and voted at a home in Pendleton, Indiana owned by Randall Wilson, who serves with McIntosh on the board of Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems, a federal defense contractor based in Anderson. McIntosh later changed his voter registration to an Anderson home owned by Pete Bitar, the CEO of Xtreme. Federal lobbying registration records show that McIntosh lobbies for the Anderson defense contractor.

Critics of McIntosh point out that former Secretary of State Charlie White was indicted and convicted on several vote fraud charges earlier this year and forced to resign from office for registering and casting a vote at one election in Hamilton County using his former wife's home while he was in between homes prior to his marriage to his second wife. White is appealing his criminal convictions. The state's Supreme Court has already ruled that Democrats waited too late to file a complaint challenging White's eligibility on the basis that he was not legally registered to vote in the proper precinct.

McIntosh obtained an advisory opinion from Madison Co. Prosecutor Rodney Cummings stating that McIntosh's voting registration in Anderson was legal despite the fact that he and his family did not physically reside at the home where he was registered to vote. Cummings based his opinion on the Evan Bayh case, which was decided by the Supreme Court, but that case decided whether Bayh was a resident of Indiana for purposes of being a candidate for governor Indiana, as opposed to being a legal resident eligible to vote in a particular precinct. A more exacting legal standard applies to a person's voting registration.

What the McIntosh residency issue points up is that depending on who you are has a lot to do with how your case is legally handled. White faced the worst possible outcome under circumstances under which tens of thousands of voters cast votes every election in Indiana when they are in between residences. Former Sen. Richard Lugar was forced to re-register at his family's farm in Marion County after the Marion Co. Elections Board determined that he had been illegally registered and casting votes using a residence he had sold 35 years ago, but he faces no criminal charges for his violation of election laws. Both the Madison county clerk and county prosecutor support McIntosh and clearly have no intention of enforcing the law to his detriment under circumstances that undeniably raise a far worse violation of the voter registration laws than White's case involved. White may have had a point when he told a Fox News show following his conviction that Indiana was a state of men, not of laws, that unfairly applied the state's voter registration laws. The media has also been noticeably more restrained in its coverage of Lugar's and McIntosh's voter residency problems compared to the vitriol they displayed in their coverage of White's residency woes.

1 comment:

Greg Purvis said...

My own blog post on "Why residency matters":

This is one of the few times I can recall where Gary Welsh and I are on the same page on an issue.