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Indiana's Elections Chief Charged With Voter Fraud

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for the state's top elections official to step down after the official was indicted Thursday on voter fraud allegations and other charges for allegedly listing his ex-wife's address as his own on voting and loan forms and serving on a town council when he was ineligible.

The Hamilton County grand jury charged Republican Secretary of State Charlie White with seven felony counts in all, including three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count each of theft and financial fraud, said John Dowd, one of two special prosecutors asked to investigate the matter.

White, who would be forced to resign if convicted of any of the charges, surrendered to authorities at the Hamilton County Jail in Noblesville. A jail officer said White had been booked and released, but she had no information about bail.

"This news is sad and regrettable, but the only course of honor is for Mr. White to step down from his duties, at least the duration of these proceedings until a verdict is reached," Daniels, a Republican, said in a written statement.

"It would be neither credible nor appropriate for the state's top elections official to continue to perform his duties while contesting criminal charges, some of them under the very laws the Secretary of State implements," Daniels said, adding that all of the other statewide elected officials agreed with him.

White issued a statement saying he is disappointed at the charges and believes the evidence will prove he didn't intentionally break the law. He said he will not step aside.

"I will continue to do the job I was elected to do and carry on serving the needs of Hoosier taxpayers through the Secretary of State's office," White said.

Prosecutors contend that White voted in last May's Republican primary after moving out of his ex-wife's home in Fishers and the town council district he represented. White has previously acknowledged the voting error, chalking it up to his busy schedule and new marriage.

He is charged with theft for allegedly continuing to collect a salary from the town council after he was no longer eligible to serve on it. The financial fraud charge pertains to White's alleged lying under oath about his address on loan documents, Dowd said.

Dowd said the grand jury wasn't sure where White had actually resided, "but the grand jury didn't believe it was where he claimed."

Indiana Democrats called attention to the address discrepancy after White voted in last May's Republican primary. They contend White intentionally skirted the law to keep his seat on the town council.

Dan Parker, the state Democratic Party chairman, said White should resign immediately.

"The judicial system has validated what we have believed all along: Charlie White should never have been on the ballot as a candidate for public office. Much like his voting record, White's entire campaign was a fraud," Parker said.

If convicted of the financial fraud charge, White could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison, Dowd said. The other six charges carry maximum penalties of six months to three years in prison, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.