The Indiana Election Commission denied Tuesday a challenge to Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s eligibility in the upcoming election.
Lawson was appointed Secretary of State in March of 2012 to fill out the term of Charlie White, who was ousted after a voter fraud conviction. She was then elected to the position in 2014 and is running for another four-year term this year.
A challenge to her candidacy says the Indiana Constitution only allows someone to serve in the office for eight years in a 12-year span – meaning Lawson could only serve until 2020, halfway through her next term (if she wins).
But attorney William Barrett, representing Lawson, says another provision of the constitution says time served for a “pro tempore” appointment – a temporary one – doesn’t count toward that limit.
“The scope of any governor’s authority, the duration of it is only to fill the unexpired term. This fits the dictionary definition of pro tempore,” Barrett says.
The Indiana Election Commission unanimously agreed and sided with Lawson.