INDIANAPOLIS – Republican secretary of state candidate Diego Morales is responding to questions about his voting and residency records.
Morales is running against Democrat Destiny Wells and Libertarian Jeff Maurer for Indiana secretary of state, the office that oversees elections.
Documents obtained through public records requests show Morales voted in Hendricks County in 2018 but at the time was receiving a property tax deduction in Marion County, which can only be used for a primary residence.
The documents, which were first obtained by The Indianapolis Star, show Morales voted in the 2018 primary and general elections in Hendricks County and registered there under the address of a condo in Plainfield. That was the year he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the fourth district primary, defeated by Rep. Jim Baird (R-Indiana).
But he and his wife had a home in Marion County where they filed for a homestead property tax deduction in 2016, according to records obtained through the county auditor’s office. That deduction can only be used for a primary residence.
The Marion County Auditor’s Office said that the application was granted, and there were no notifications the homeowners had moved, so they would have continued to receive that deduction.
Under Indiana law, you must have lived in a precinct at least 30 days before an election to be able to vote there.
“People make these mistakes all the time,” said Andrew Downs, director emeritus of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne. “They’re usually fairly benign, and they correct them when they’re brought to their attention. The challenge here is he’s someone who was running for office, and it’s the office that actually is the chief election officer in the state.”
Diego Morales sent us a statement Friday afternoon through his campaign, which reads: “The issue regarding my residency has been previously vetted in the media and no wrongdoing was discovered then and nothing new is being reported now. I followed all applicable state and federal election and property tax laws. This defamation and character assassination by replaying old news and attaching damaging headlines is reprehensible.”
There’s no word at this point of any investigation by any agency over this matter.