News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Election 2012

March 30, 2012

Deal allows Lugar to move Indiana voter registration

INDIANAPOLIS — Sen. Richard Lugar will switch his voter registration to his family farm in Indiana to resolve a dispute with local election officials who ruled he couldn’t vote using the address of an Indianapolis home he sold in 1977, according to a deal reached today.

The resolution Lugar’s lawyers reached with the Marion County elections board headed off a court hearing on a challenge from Lugar. The judge dismissed the case after the lawyers agreed Lugar could legally vote from the farm in southern Marion County that has been in Lugar’s family for more than 80 years.

“They made the choice to switch their voter registration from the precinct in Wayne township to the precinct with the family farm in Decatur Township and based on the facts that were presented to the board seemed like the right thing to do,” said Andy Mallon, a lawyer representing the elections board.

Lugar’s lawyers had cited previous guidance from the elections board that the senator and his wife could vote from their former Indianapolis address. Lugar wrote a letter to the board today seeking a clear answer about where the couple could vote.

“Because of our strong desire to exercise our constitutional right to vote in the upcoming May election, we write to you now to seek guidance and clarification on the proper precinct in which to register,” Lugar wrote.

Lugar is facing one of his toughest election battles in the Republican primary against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. While conservative discontent with Lugar initially stemmed from his votes on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees and his support for measures like the automaker bailout, angst has turned in the last few months to his decision not to keep a home in Indiana while serving in the Senate.

Democrats and tea party challengers effectively backed Lugar into a corner on the issue through a concerted media push in Washington and Indiana and a mix of legal challenges in Indiana. A challenge to Lugar’s appearance on the May ballot was unanimously dismissed by the state elections board last month, but still is being challenged in Marion County court in a separate case.

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