Indiana board rules Lugar ineligible to vote in home district
March 15th, 2012
02:15 PM ET
2 years ago

Indiana board rules Lugar ineligible to vote in home district

(CNN) - An election commission in Indianapolis ruled Thursday that Sen. Richard Lugar is ineligible to vote in his former precinct, a blow to the Republican who has been battling residency questions amid a primary battle for reelection.

The Marion County Election Board voted 2-1 against Lugar and his wife in a vote along party lines, according to Angie Nussmeyer, a spokesperson for the board.

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Democrats who voted against Lugar determined he no longer resided at the home address listed on his voter registration. Lugar has lived in McLean, Virginia since the sale of his Indianapolis home in 1977.

Lugar's campaign characterized the decision as an attempt to infringe upon Lugar's right to vote.

"Unfortunately, the Democrats on the County Election Board and Treasurer Mourdock's supporters are attempting to tarnish Senator Lugar and his family, and deprive them their fundamental right to vote," Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said. "This personal attack comes on the heels of the Indiana Election Commission's bipartisan, unanimous decision denying a similar challenge to Senator Lugar's ability to stand for re-election."

Fisher added, "It is an outrage that Indiana Democrats and Treasurer Mourdock's camp are happy to waste taxpayer money in tying up the courts. They apparently don't see any path to victory at the ballot box, so they keep maneuvering in hopes they can avoid competing head-on with Senator Lugar."

Nussmeyer, the election board spokesperson, specified the decision wasn't meant to disenfranchise the Lugars, but rather to denote they were no longer eligible to vote in precinct 29-007.

A GOP source said the decision was pure politics.

"This was nothing more than a political maneuver – the Indiana Attorney General has already upheld his residency," the Republican said. "This particular county election board is comprised of three people – two of whom are Democrats – so it's a 2-1 vote. It's all politics and ultimately won't stand."

In February, Lugar beat back a challenge to his Senate candidacy when the Indiana Election Commission determined he wasn't required to be a resident of Indiana to appear on the ballot.

Lugar's primary opponent, tea-party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, along with state and national Democrats, have made a campaign issue out of Lugar's lack of a physical residence in the Hoosier state.

Mourdock's campaign spokesman Christopher Conner issued a statement slamming Lugar Thursday, writing: “It's sad that Senator Lugar had to be instructed by the Marion County Election Board that he must maintain an actual home in the state he represents in the U.S. Senate. The fact that Senator Lugar hired a team of high-priced lawyers to fight for his right to use a legal technicality so that he doesn’t have to live among Hoosiers just proves our point about how out of touch he is.

Also on Thursday, the grassroots conservative group FreedomWorks sent an e-mail to supporters, mockingly suggesting they help find Lugar a home in Indiana.

"FreedomWorks has offered to help the Senator find a home, since he's probably not too familiar with the state anymore, having lived in suburban Washington, DC for the past 3 decades," the group wrote. Freedomworks has backed Mourdock, Lugar's Republican challenger.

-CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Dana Bash, Rebecca Stewart and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Richard Lugar
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Article 1, Section 3, Paragraph 3, US Constitution. "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the Age of Thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."

    March 15, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. conniesz

    I would think that he should have at least maintained a residence – a condo or apartment or something – to use as a "home base" when he was indeed at home in Indiana. He was careless with his residency. I'm not sure he should be disenfranchised, but on the other hand how many people without an address get to vote in Indiana at this time. If he can find a few other people who do not have an address who are allowed to vote, then he has a case that he's being treated differently than others. If no such other examples exist – well, why should he be a special case?

    March 15, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. GI Joe.

    He wants to represent people he doesn't know? kick his butt out.

    March 15, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    What does his photo ID say? Virginia or Indiana?

    March 15, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Hugganoak

    He wants to vote in a precinct in which he doesn't live, and hasn't lived for decades, and doesn't own property in? That really makes no sense. I am pretty liberal in allowing people to vote. Couldn't he have at least kept his house there? Then a reasonable argument could be made that he was only to better serve his state in DC, and would eventually return. Not maintaining property along with the time factor seems to invalidate his claim of residency there. It would be like me wanting to return to a the precinct in a neighboring county and demand to vote even though I haven't lived there or had property there in 25 years.

    March 15, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Mikey

    @conniesz – Shouldn't he vote where he does maintain a residence? Homeless people live where they stay, even if they don't have an actual home. They should be able to vote in the precinct where they live. It is different if you do have a home and it's elsewhere.

    I'm glad we found a case of actual voter fraud. I wonder how many times he voted where he didn't live. Should he be prosecuted?

    March 15, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Rev Mkell,

    So he feels they he can best serve the needs of people by living someplace else? That way he can better focus on the needs of the people whom he won't live around? Sorry, Don't get it!

    March 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. diridi

    pile up this old junk and put them in trash....nonsense. pass congress and senate Term-Limits. Nation's Fix this is.

    March 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. GopLogic

    I'm so putting in my bid, right now, to be King of Great Britian, pdq! Using the "Lugar Strategy To Victory", I now don't even have to live there, just have an opposition I'm willing to twist and break using busslhit to make them look fake! Great plan! Loving this!

    March 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    You'd think he'd remember to have a place in the state he represents in the Senate. I guess that was a foolish (and potentially costly) mistake.

    March 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    We have a resident California carpet bagger, Connie Mack, running for senate in Florida.

    March 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    The Indiana Election Commission is totally corrupt. Didn't the head of the commission just get charged with voter fraud? Didn't the governer just say that if the fraud charges were reduced, the guy could have his old job back? Wasn't he convicted?

    March 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Larry

    This is the voter fraud we should be worried about.I'm not to worried about an illegals voting.I'm much more concerned about crooked politicians and their corrupt voting procedures..

    March 15, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. d

    Odd...how can he even be a senator from indiana? so i could run for office in ma. although i live in ca.?

    March 15, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Peter

    This is a joke right? They are complaining that the guy who doesn't even live in, or have a stinking address in the state can't vote there? Well guess what, I don't live in Indiana and I can't vote there either!

    March 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Not all of the story is being told here. When Lugar was first elected to the US Senate, he did have a home in Indiana; which he later sold. In the process of selling that home he asked for and was given an opinion by the Indiana Attorney General who said that as long as he was on official business for the State of Indiana, that he could still use his old address as his voter registration. Up until the Murdock camp made this an issue; which also partly stems from Indiana's now-ex Secretary of State who was recently convicted of fraud for similar issues.
    So while everyone is condeming Senator Lugar for this, just home much financial sense does it make to own a house that you would not be living in for a period of 6 years. Between property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and more than likely security and possibly a mortage on top of having the same costs and living expenses at the home where you would actually reside because of your job.
    When we complain about the spending our Federal Government does, at least Sen. Lugar has found a way to trim his personal budget.
    Murdock on the other hand invested huge sums of money for the State of Indiana into the stock market, then when the stock market crashed and stocks like Chrysler he purchased for the state went bancrupt, he went whining and crying all over the state about it. Murdock should not be elected to any office, much less the US Senate.

    March 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. RillyKewl

    Is Indiana one of those states where they changed to an anti-voter special ID law?
    That might be at the crux of this argument.

    March 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |