The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 11, 2018 9:16 am

Democrats call out Pence for casting ballots

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – About 600,000 Hoosiers cast their ballots Tuesday – including Vice President Mike Pence.

He voted absentee from the Governor's Residence – his last state address – even though a new governor now lives there with his wife and dog.

And the Indiana Democratic Party is calling Pence out.

“We agree with the vice president's rhetoric – we should be working to strengthen Hoosiers' confidence in our electoral system," said Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. "Asking for more information about how he cast his vote in this primary election will go a long way toward that.”

President Donald Trump has alleged that millions of people voted fraudulently in the 2016 election, and he appointed Pence to lead an election integrity commission that was later disbanded.

"Indiana law protects the vice president's right to vote in his precinct as long as he is serving his country and living at the Naval Observatory," said Alyssa Farah, press secretary for the vice president. "Objections to this law are just political stunts with no standing.”

Zody delivered a letter Wednesday to the Marion County Election Board requesting records to determine whether the vice president had potentially voted from an address where he no longer resides.

The Marion County Clerk's Office confirmed to the Journal Gazette that Pence used a mail-in absentee ballot to vote Tuesday under the residence address on Meridian Street.

Pence and wife, Karen, sold their Columbus home when he was elected governor in 2012 and moved to the Governor's Residence. When elected vice president they moved to Observatory Circle in Washington D.C.

Zody said Indiana statute requires a person, when absent from their residency, to have the intention to return.

“If the vice president intends to return to the Governor's Residence, I'm betting that's news to Governor (Eric) Holcomb and to Hoosiers,” said Zody. “We are requesting an explanation.”

And he pointed out that Pence reportedly stayed at the Conrad hotel in downtown Indianapolis Thursday night after a rally.

“Evidently, no one left the light on at the Governor's Residence because the vice president wasn't staying at his Indiana “home” last night. But it didn't stop him from casting a ballot there on Tuesday," Zody said. "If election integrity means more than a photo op to the vice president, perhaps he should consider reregistering at the Conrad or in Washington DC.”

When pushed about whether the Indiana Democratic Party feels Pence shouldn't be able to cast an Indiana ballot, spokesman Phil Johnson conceded the vice president's vote "may not be technically illegal but it looks shady."

The Indiana Constitution legally protects Pence's right to vote because it says "no person shall be deemed to have lost his residence in the state by reason of his absence either on business of this state or of the United States."

And several state Attorney General opinions over the years have said there is no requirement that a person maintain a house, apartment or any fixed physical location.

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