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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Secretary of State Connie Lawson will be on the ballot for reelection, despite a claim she’s ineligible:

Lawson served nearly three years as an appointed replacement for Charlie White, who was forced out when he was convicted of a felony. Frequent Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning argued that puts her in violation of Indiana’s two-term limit. State law specifically excludes time spent as a temporary appointee from that calculation, but Horning contends Lawson’s lengthy service before winning a full term in 2014 violates the spirit of that clause.

The bipartisan state election board unanimously disagreed. Lawson’s attorney William Barrett says any appointment by a governor is only valid for the unexpired portion of the term, and says that’s the dictionary definition of “temporary.”

Even if those years did count, Barrett says Lawson could still run for the job — she’d just have to step down when she reached the eight-year mark. Instead, Lawson will become Indiana’s longest-serving secretary of state if she wins in November and remains on the job through April 2020. That would carry her past Indiana’s first secretary of state, Robert New, who served a month beyond the eight-year limit as Indiana set its election calendar after gaining statehood.

Indiana’s term-limit law, which also applies to the governor, auditor and treasurer, differs from the federal limit of two presidential terms. Vice presidents who become president in the middle of a term can seek two full terms of their own if they take office after the midpoint of their predecessor’s four years, as Lyndon Johnson did. If there’s more than two years left when they take over, as with Gerald Ford, they can only serve one additional term. Indiana’s law, in contrast, simply limits officeholders to eight years in a 12-year span — an officeholder could sit out a four-year term, then run for two more terms.

Lawson faces Democrat Jim Harper and Libertarian Mark Rutherford on the November ballot.

(Photo: nerthuz/Thinkstock)