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Attorneys Reach Settlement In Lugar’s Voter Eligibility Case

Lugar and his wife will have to re-register to vote in Decatur Township for the state's primary election.

Richard Lugar

Photo: Robert D. Ward (Wikipedia Commons)

Lugar's opponents have criticized him for living out of the state for several years and questioned whether he was eligible to vote in the state.

Attorneys have reached a settlement in the case involving whether Sen. Richard Lugar was eligible to vote in the upcoming Indiana primary. According to the settlement, Lugar and wife will re-registered at their family farm in Decatur Township in Marion County. They will then be eligible to vote.

The Marion County Election board ruled a couple weeks ago that Senator Lugar and his wife were no longer eligible to vote using the address of their Indianapolis home as proof of residency. The couple sold the home in 1977, after Lugar was first elected to the Senate.

Lugar challenged that ruling and a Marion County Circuit Court hearing was scheduled for Friday, but the hearing never happened as the two sides agreed to a settlement.

Election Board attorney Andy Mallon says the board is satisfied with the outcome.

“They made the choice to switch their voter registration from the precinct in Wayne Township to the family farm in Decatur Township, which, based on the facts that were presented to the board, seemed like the right thing to do,” he says.

Lugar’s attorney Lee McNeely argued that, under Indiana law, Lugar’s address was frozen when he was elected to the Senate, meaning he could continue to vote in Marion County despite having sold the home. But McNeely says re-registering was the easiest way to put the matter behind them.

“If you’re looking for substantial contacts in the Marion County, this is one that’s not only substantial but long-standing,” he says. “And so he’s been essentially the farm manager for years and years, continues to do so and this is just a convenient place to vote from.”

Lugar must officially re-register by April 9.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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