Senator Dick Lugar, facing a tough primary challenge, may be on the Indiana ballot for the May 9 GOP senate contest, but he won’t be able to vote.
That’s the ruling of the Marion County election board who says he has “forfeited” his ability to vote. The decision is being appealed by Lugar.
“I don’t want to cast aspersions on anyone,” Lugar told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, “but there has been a rather concerted campaign by self-appointed persons who believe this is the best way to settle the Indiana election.”
The two-to-one party-line decision by the Marion County Election Board has important legal implications, but also resurrects the crippling narrative that Lugar is disconnected from Indiana, where he hasn’t owned a home in more than three decades.
After reviewing the complaint submitted by Lugar’s political opponents, the board ruled that there is “substantial reason to believe a non-criminal election law violation has occurred and … the Lugars have abandoned the 3200 Highwoods Court residence and thus forfeited their respective abilities to lawfully vote.”
The remedy appears to be straightforward: Submit a new voter registration form by April 9 with a new address to which Lugar has some ties.
But Lugar’s camp trashed the finding as an “outrage” ginned up by Democrats and GOP rival Richard Mourdock.
“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 Sen. Lugar,” said spokesman Andy Fisher. “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 of their fundamental right to vote.”
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, Lugar’s main GOP rival, has a good chance of unseating the long serving GOP leader. Even if Lugar is successful in restoring his right to vote, the issue reminds everyone in the state that Lugar has been a long time gone from his roots.