Charlie White

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Charles P. White
Charlie White.jpg
Indiana Secretary of State
Previous officeholder
In office
2010 - February 2012
Term ends
Base salary$68,772
Bachelor'sWabash College (1992)
J.D.Valparaiso University School of Law (1995)
Office website
Charles P. White is the former Republican Indiana Secretary of State, having been first elected to the statewide executive position in November 2010. Prior to serving as Secretary of State, he served as Chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and as a member of the Fishers Town Council.

White was convicted of six felonies in February 2012, forcing him to leave office. He was temporarily replaced by his deputy secretary, Jerry Bonnet, until Governor Mitch Daniels could appoint a permanent secretary to serve out White's term, ending in 2015. On March 16, 2012, White was officially succeeded by Republican Senator Connie Lawson.[1]


Before becoming secretary of state, White was an attorney practicing family law in Indianapolis, Indiana. He also served as a judge pro tempore for superior and magistrate courts, as assistant director and special counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and as a member of the Fishers Town Council. Additionally, he was Hamilton County Coordinator for Governor Mitch Daniels's gubernatorial campaigns in 2004 and 2008, and chair of the Hamilton County Republican Party. Other roles White occupied throughout his career include:

  • Indiana Co-chairman, Great Lakes Council of Governors Rules and Procedures Committee
  • Member, Friends of Fishers Political Action Committee
  • Past member, Fishers Parks Advisory Board
  • Past member, Hamilton County Solid Waste Board
  • Past member, Fishers Plan Commission
  • Past member, Fishers Planned Unit Development Committee
  • Past member, Fishers Town Center Design Review Committee
  • Past member/executive board, Hamilton County Alliance
  • Past liaison, Fishers Waste water Treatment Department - Development Department
  • Past member, Fishers Land Use Guidelines Committee
  • Past member, Hamilton County – Purdue University Cooperative Extension Board


  • Bachelor's degree, Wabash College (1992)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Valparaiso University School of Law (1995)

Political career

Indiana Secretary of State (2010 - Feb. 2012)

In early February, 2012, White was convicted of six felonies, including voter fraud, theft and perjury. The convictions precluded him from continuing to serve in elected office, per Indiana state law. Governor Mitch Daniels appointed deputy secretary Jerry Bonnet as interim secretary of state until White's sentencing, when a Hamilton County judge could decide whether or not his felony convictions could be reduced to misdemeanors. If reduced, he would have been eligible for reinstatement to the office. On February 23, Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation sentenced him to one year of home detention for each of the six counts, to be served concurrently, and 30 hours of community service a fine of $1,000. The hearing eliminated the possibility of his reinstatement.[2] Then in April, White's law license was suspended by order of the Indiana Supreme Court.[3] He is currently appealing his criminal charges in hope of reversing his sentence and returning to legal work.

White was first elected in 2010. He had been dogged by controversy since assuming office, owing to complaints that he falsified his address on his voter registration forms. A Marion County judge ruled in December 2011 that these complaints, filed by operatives of Indiana's Democratic party, were valid. The corollary ruling about whether this improper registration should translate to a default victory for the election's runner-up, 2010 Democratic candidate Vop Osili, was turned over to the Indiana Supreme Court. On March 15, 2012, the state's high court issued its decision to reverse the previous ruling, affirming White's original eligibility and restoring Gov. Daniels' duty to appoint White's replacement.[4]



See also: Indiana Secretary of State election, 2010
2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[5]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Charlie White 57.1%
     Democratic Party Vop Osili 37.0%
     Libertarian Party Mike Wherry 5.9%
Total Votes 1,709,679

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for White is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, White raised a total of $356,693 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 10, 2013.[6]

Charlie White's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 Indiana Secretary of State Won $356,693
Grand Total Raised $356,693


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Charlie White's donors each year.[7] Click [show] for more information.


Voter fraud

White, a resident of the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers and a member of the town council, was indicted by two Hamilton County special prosecutors in March 2011 for voting from his ex-wife's address in the May 2010 Republican primary even though he had already moved into a new home with his second wife. The Indiana Democratic Party argued during White's race for secretary of state that he had "intentionally skirted the law to keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council after moving out of the district he represented."[8] By remaining registered to vote at his ex-wife's home, which lay inside his council district, he could continue to draw his salary.

White denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he did indeed reside at his ex-wife's home when he voted in the primary and chalked the confusion up to a "transient" period in his life between 2009 and 2010. During an interview with the Associated Press in June 2011, White said that he moved out of the apartment he had rented since his 2007 divorce in May 2009. White's ex-wife, Nicole Mills, said that he was "living out of his car" at the time as he prepared for his run for secretary of state and searched for a new home with his soon-to-be second wife. Mills claimed she allowed White to stay at her home and have his mail sent there until he found a new place.

White asserted that he purchased a new condo in February 2010, but didn't actually move in until May 28, after his allegedly fraudulent vote, because he did not want to cohabit with his fiance until they were married. It was also in February that White changed his voter registration from his bachelor apartment to Mills' house, even though he had moved out of the former almost a year prior.

White faced three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury and one count each of theft and financial fraud. The theft charges stemmed from the fact that White continued to draw a salary from the Fishers Town Council even after he moved outside the district he represented. He faced expulsion from office and up to eight years in prison.[9][10] The trial began on January 30, 2012 in Noblesville.[11]

Felony convictions and sentencing

On February 4, a Hamilton County jury found White guilt of six of seven felony charges, including false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot, theft and two counts of perjury. He was acquitted on a seventh charge of fraud. Following the verdict, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced he had appointed Jerry Bonnet, White's chief deputy, as interim secretary of state. Daniels explained, "I have chose not to make a permanent appointment today out of respect for the judge's authority to lessen the verdict to a misdemeanor and reinstate the elected office holder. If the felony convictions are not altered, I anticipate making a permanent appointment quickly."[12]

On February 23, Hamilton County Court Judge Steven Nation refused the request by White's defense attorney, Carl Brizzi, to reduce his charges from class D felonies to misdemeanors. White was sentenced to six years of home detention, 30 hours of community service and a fine of $1,000. Furthermore, the felonies' solidification also erased the chance of White returning to office.[13]

Civil suit

Democrats brought a civil suit seeking to reverse a June decision by the Indiana Recount Commission that found White was eligible for office. On December 22, 2011, Marion Circuit Court Judge Louis Rosenberg issued agreed, overturned the decision, and ordered the commission to certify Vop Osili (D), who finished second in the 2010 election, as secretary of state. The following day, Rosenberg issued a temporary stay after White said he would appeal the removal order to a higher court.[14][15]

On January 4, Rosenberg granted a request to allow White to stay in office until his appeal was heard by a higher court. He also denied a request by Democrats seeking to ensure Osili would be put in office if White were removed for other reasons.

When White was convicted and removed from office in early February, he could not be replaced immediately by an appointment from Republican Governor Mitch Daniels until the Indiana Supreme Court could make its decision about the civil suit.[16]

Civil suit ruling

After indefinite postponement, the Indiana Supreme Court voted unanimously on March 15, 2012, to overturn the decision by Marion County judge Louis Rosenberg that White was ineligible to run for the statewide office in 2010 and therefore the seat belonged to White's Democratic opponent Vop Osili- the election's second-place finisher. The Supreme Court reversed Rosenberg's decision, finding that White, when elected in November 2010, was eligible to take office. Furthermore, the ruling restored Gov. Daniels duty, rendered temporary uncertain by the circumstances, to fill the vacancy left by White's departure.[17] Finally, on March 16, 2012, Daniels appointed Senator Connie Lawson (R) to succeed White.[1]

Appeal effort in state court

White and his attorney, Andrea Ciobanu, sought to reverse voter fraud charges in December 2014 by appealing to a three-judge panel of the state's appeals court. Ciobanu argued that the Hamilton County court where White was convicted did not accurately apply the state's residency requirement when presenting evidence to the jury. She also contended that White's son lived with his ex-wife at the address on his voter registration, which fulfilled an "immediate family" requirement under state election law.[18]

White previously appealed to vacate the voter fraud charges in 2013 based on incompetent legal counsel, which was rejected by a Hamilton County judge in December 2013. During oral arguments in the appeal, Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik and Justice Michael Barnes strongly scrutinized Ciobanu's arguments as well as White's previous appeal of incompetent counsel. Vaidik's questioning also revealed that convictions on ballot fraud and voting in the wrong precinct might constitute double jeopardy.[18] On December 29, 2014, the appeals court overturned three of the six charges against White, citing double jeopardy concerns. White's sentence remained unchanged because he was serving the sentences for all six charges at the same time.[19]

Mailer complaint

Keith Clock, the Chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, filed a complaint against Republican Secretary of State candidate, Charlie White, in late October 2010 after he received a mailer from White's campaign that he claimed did not include a disclaimer of who paid for it. If true, this would have been a violation of the Indiana Code. White's campaign responded to the accusation by stating that the this was "a simple mistake that was made during the editing process, and was clearly unintentional as all our other print literature has the disclaimer."[20] The case was handed over to special prosecutors - Republican John Dowd and Democrat Daniel Sigler - on Friday, November 12th.[21]


White has a wife, Michelle, and three sons, named William, Liam, Michaela.

Contact Information


Capitol Address:
Indiana Secretary of State
201 Statehouse
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: (317) 232-6531
Fax: (317) 233-3283

See also

External links

Suggest a link

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from October 22, 2010.


  1. 1.0 1.1, "GOP Sen Lawson named new Indiana secretary of state," accessed March 16, 2012
  2. Associated Press, "White faces sentencing after 6 felony convictions," accessed February 23, 2012
  3. Indiana Public, "Former Secretary Of State White Stripped Of Law License," April 27, 2012
  4. Indy Star, "Charlie White was OK to run for office, Indiana high court rules," March 15, 2012
  5. Indiana Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
  6. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Charlie White," accessed July 10, 2013
  7. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  8. Post-Tribune, "White blames transient time for voting allegations," June 20, 2011
  9. Evansville Courier & Press', "Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White sworn in despite probe," January 7, 2011
  10. Indianapolis Recorder, "Charlie White faces 8 years for voter fraud," March 10, 2011
  11. FOX News, "Indiana secretary of state's voter fraud trial starts," January 30, 2012
  12. Washington Post, "Indiana election chief found guilty of voter fraud, other charges; faces removal from office," February 4, 2012
  13. Current in Carmel, "Charlie White avoids home detention during new appeal," January 15, 2014
  14. The Courier-Journal, "Judge puts order removing Indiana secretary of state on hold," December 23, 2011
  15. The Indianapolis Star, "Judge moves hearing on Ind. secretary of state," December 28, 2011
  16. Indianapolis Star, "Charlie White holds onto office, judge rejects Democrats' argument," January 4, 2012
  17. Indy Star, "Charlie White was OK to run for office, Indiana high court rules," March 15, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 RTV6, "Court hears ex-Indiana elections chief's appeal," December 9, 2014
  19. Indiana Public Media, "Court Upholds Half Of Charlie White’s Voter Fraud Conviction," December 29, 2014
  20. WIBC "Democrats File Complaint Against SOS Candidate" 28 Oct. 2010
  21. The Indianapolis Star, "Special prosecutors get more White allegations" 12 Nov. 2010

Political offices
Preceded by
Todd Rokita
Indiana Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Connie Lawson