INDIANAPOLIS - U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be on the May 8 primary ballot, the Indiana Election Commission ruled Friday afternoon.
In the Repubican presidential primary, Rick Santorum is almost certain to stay on the ballot. Marion County Republican Voter Registration Director Cindy Mowery told the Commission, "We know for certain that eight should have been counted." She said that her office has had "multiple contacts" with the Santorum campaign. Dumezich reiterated that a candidate stays on the ballot unless the challengers make the case otherwise. Santorum's campaign had taken affidavits from eight rejected voters - including two Marion County judges - reaffirming their signatures.
The commission rejected a bizarre challenge to President Obama, with "birthers" claiming he is an imposter, doesn't have a valid Social Security number, and complained that the President did not show up in person for the hearing. The commission voted 4-0 to keep Obama on the ballot.
As for the challenge to U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar's residency, the testimony came down to the terms "resident" and "inhabitant." David Stockdale, who challenged the Santorum candidacy, insisted that Lugar is not an "inhabitant," arguing that he move to Virginia 35 years ago. Lugar attorney Wayne Turner emphasized "residency" and cited three different Indiana attorney general rulings, including one Thursday from Attorney General Greg Zoeller saying Lugar is an official resident. "He is an inhabitant. he is a resident of the state" based on laws. Eric Bohnet, arguing against the Lugar candidacy, dismissed the three AG rulings. Democrat Tony Long observed that inhabitance seems to require physical presence more than residence does. Long noted that the law is pretty clear, you must be an inhabitant on the day you are elected to the U.S. Senate. But, he noted, other drivers license and trimming his walnut trees on the Lugar farm in southern Marion County, what evidence there is of Lugar being inhabitant?
Long and Dumezich both explained that for purposes of deciding whether Lugar remains on the ballot, the commission has to define "inhabitant."
In the 4-0 vote to keep Lugar on the ballot, Long said there not enough evidence to disqualify Lugar from being on the ballot. Ultimately, he said, that will be up to GOP primary voters to decide.