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Former Indiana county clerk candidate arrested on election fraud charges

Christopher James "Chris" Coyle, and the Clark County, Indiana, Government Building and Courthouse (Provided Photos/Indiana State Police, and Clark County Clerk's Office via Facebook)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A man who ran for a Clark County office and voted in the southern Indiana county in November has been arrested on charges of election fraud, Indiana State Police say.

Christopher James “Chris” Coyle was charged with a felony count of filing a fraudulent report, and two felony counts of voting outside precinct residence. Online court records show he also was charged with an address or name change violation on a driver’s license.

A news release issued Thursday from state police says a detective received a “formal criminal complaint” in November. The release did not say who’d filed the complaint.

Media have reported Clarksville resident Jeffrey Donayel in October had challenged the county election board on Coyle’s residency. Donayel said Coyle had sold his home in the rural Clark County community of Memphis and had a mailing address in Tell City.

Coyle said in October he continued to live in Clark County after selling his home, but did not want to buy or lease another residence until his employee situation was certain.

The state police’s news release said, “The complainant advised Christopher Coyle had filed a false report with the Clark County Clerk’s Office. It was alleged Christopher Coyle both voted and filed to run for a Clark County office while not residing in Clark County as required by law.”

Media reports say Coyle in 2022 was the county’s Democratic Party chair and worked as a deputy clerk for Clark County Clerk Susan Popp. A Democrat, Popp served two four-term terms, the limit under Indiana law. One job of county clerks in Indiana is to oversee elections.

In November’s election, Coyle lost to Republican Ryan Lynch, 714-229.

Online court documents in the criminal case did not list an address for Coyle.

The state police release says Coyle voluntarily surrendered himself Thursday, and later was released on his own recognizance from the Clark County jail in Jeffersonville. Clark County jail records are not available online.

Clark County, which has about 124,000 residents, sits across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.