The Marion County Election Board, voting 2-1 along party lines, ruled Thursday that according to Indiana law the Lugars had abandoned the residence in their former Wayne Township precinct. Lugar, who was elected to the Senate in 1977, sold his Indianapolis home shortly after taking office but has the address on his Indiana driver's license, USA Today said. He and his wife have a home in Virginia.
Lugar aides called the decision "political," but election board attorneys said the Lugars would be eligible to vote if they submit new voter registration forms listing their current Indiana address, The Indianapolis Star reported.
"Since Senator Lugar took office, he and Mrs. Lugar have scrupulously complied with Indiana law, which preserves the residency of Hoosiers serving their state and country outside of Indiana," said a statement issued by the Lugar camp. The statement called the election board decision "an outrage by Indiana Democrats … happy to waste taxpayer money in tying up the courts."
Board members "utterly failed to consider the circumstances of this alleged violation of election law," said Patrick Dietrick, the sole Republican election board member.
Lugar is opposed by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the May Republican primary.
"It's sad that Senator Lugar had to be instructed by the Marion County Election Board that he must maintain an actual home in the state he represents in the U.S. Senate," Mourdock said in a statement.