Indiana Senator Richard Lugar has been ruled ineligible to vote in his former home precinct by the Marion County Election Board.
The board ruled that Lugar, who moved to Virginia with his wife after he was elected to the Senate in 1977, has abandoned his Indiana home and can no longer claim residency there. If the board’s ruling stands, it would mean that Lugar would be unable to vote for himself in Indiana’s Republican primary in May.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Lugar plans to appeal the decision. If that fails, however, Lugar and his wife could simply submit new voter registration forms that list a different physical address to which they are connected. The Lugars have a family farm that may qualify, despite the fact that there is no house on the property.
Although the decision will not remove Lugar from the ballot — Indiana has different standards for voting eligibility and ballot eligibility — it could complicate his already muddled re-election hopes. Lugar is currently locked in a heated primary battle with Tea Party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock, who has been endorsed by influential groups such as the Club for Growth and the National Rifle Association (along with former presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Herman Cain,) had already been trying to make an issue out of Lugar’s residency before today’s ruling.
“I believe if you are going to represent a state you ought to be an inhabitant of that state,” Mourdock said in an interview with Newsmax last Thursday. “Yes, it means you ought to go to the county fairs. You ought to go to the Rotary Clubs. You ought to speak. You ought to listen. And because Mr. Lugar has been gone since 1977, I think he’s lost that vital connection.”