Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another Candidate With A Residency Problem: Watch Him Not Get The Charlie White Treatment

John Perkins served as a Democratic member of the Clark Co. Board of Commissioners representing District 3 until the end of last year, claiming as his residence a home he owns in Bethlehem, Indiana on which he's claimed a homestead exemption since 2011. When he voted in the November 2014 general election, he claimed that residence for purposes of casting an absentee ballot. So far, so good.

Here's where it gets dicey. Perkins filed earlier this month to run for city council in Jeffersonville's District 1, now claiming as his residence a condominium owned by Diane Swank. A complaint has been filed by Keith Levell challenging Perkins' residency. "He is not a resident and has not been a resident of the first district," Levell wrote on the form he filed with Clark County Voter Registration according to The News & Tribune.

That's not all. While serving as a member of the county board of commissioners, Perkins voted to name Swank, the woman with whom he now claims to reside, as the agent of record for Clark County's health insurance. The News & Tribune says he has denied in past newspaper reports that he has a romantic relationship with Swank. Perkins tells the newspaper he only moved in with Swank earlier this month. He says the home in Bethlehem he's been using as his primary residence for voting purposes and to serve as a county commissioner is really just a vacation home.

The residency requirement to run for city council is one year, a date which references the November election according to Dale Simmons, co-counsel of the Indiana Elections Division. Clark Co. Clerk Susan Popp, who sits as a member of the election board which will hear the complaint filed against Perkins' candidacy, is a first cousin of Swank and may decline to participate in the case based upon that family relationship, which could result in a 1-1 deadlock.

Here's the part that will drive Charlie White crazy. Perkins' attorney is relying on Evan Bayh's case to save him, the same one the Indiana Court of Appeals pretended didn't even exist when it affirmed three vote fraud-related convictions against the former secretary of state because he used his ex-wife's home as his voting residence for a several month period while he was in between homes and still a member of the Fishers Town Council. "I think ultimately it’s going to come down to a legal question of Mr. Perkins’ residence and whether he’s in fact been a Jeffersonville resident based on his long-standing residence within the community and his intent to return to his residence," Mickey Weber said. "I’ve kind of formed the impression that Mr. Perkins never meant to abandon his residence in Jeffersonville altogether."

Sorry, Charlie, you really are a class of one when it comes to interpreting Indiana's voter residency laws.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pure and simple Charlie White was railroaded. Original sinners Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar (and others of their ilk) go scot free for more than Mr. White has been falsely judged.