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Indiana secretary of state resigning nearly 2 years early

February 15, 2021 GMT
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FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Republican Connie Lawson speaks during an election night party in Indianapolis after defeating Democrat Jim Harper in the Indiana's Secretary of State race. Lawson has decided to resign from the office with nearly two years left in her term. The 71-year-old Republican didn’t give a specific reason for the resignation announcement on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, saying in a statement that 2020 took a toll on her and that she was stepping down to “focus on my health and my family.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
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FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Republican Connie Lawson speaks during an election night party in Indianapolis after defeating Democrat Jim Harper in the Indiana's Secretary of State race. Lawson has decided to resign from the office with nearly two years left in her term. The 71-year-old Republican didn’t give a specific reason for the resignation announcement on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, saying in a statement that 2020 took a toll on her and that she was stepping down to “focus on my health and my family.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced Monday that she is resigning with nearly two years left in her term.

The 71-year-old Republican didn’t give a specific reason, saying in a statement that 2020 took a toll on her and that she was stepping down to “focus on my health and my family.”

“Like many Hoosiers, 2020 took a toll on me,” Lawson said. “I have dedicated the last 32 years of my life to public service. I have served with all of my heart and soul. It has been an honor to serve, but it is time for me to step down.”

Valerie Warycha, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said Lawson would not provide further details about her departure.

Lawson said she would leave office once Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has picked her replacement. Lawson’s current term runs until January 2023.

“Indiana’s own Iron Lady, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, has long defined what true public service and leadership is and ought to be all about,” Holcomb said in a statement. “Throughout her time in county, legislative and statewide office, she set the standard for commitment, composure, class and credibility. No matter the year or issues of the day, citizens could bank on Connie Lawson leading the way and inspiring others to follow.”

Lawson has been Indiana’s top elections officer for almost nine years. She was first appointed to the office in 2012 after then-Secretary of State Charlie White was removed from office following his conviction on voter fraud charges stemming from his 2010 campaign.

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Lawson was then elected to her own four-year terms in 2014 and 2018. She wasn’t eligible to run again because of term limits. Lawson previously was a state senator for 16 years, including time as the Senate majority leader, and as the Hendricks County clerk.

As Indiana’s chief elections officer, Lawson advocated for election changes surrounding cybersecurity, as well as improvements to the state’s online portal for registering and managing businesses.

Shortly after the the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lawson’s decision to allow no-excuse mail-in voting in the spring primary was supported by Holcomb and other Republican state leaders. She resisted appeals from Democrats and voting rights groups to lift the ballot limits for the November election, however.