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Breaking: Rep. Bernett charged with falsifying address

Investigation found that rep allegedly does not live in apartment that qualifies her for election
Tracey Bernett (Photo courtesy of Tracey Bernett campaign)

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against Rep. Tracey Bernett for allegedly falsifying her address to run for her district this election.

Bernett, who is a Democrat currently serving her first term as the representative of House District 12, has been charged with attempt to influence a public servant, forgery and residence-false information, all felonies, along with misdemeanor perjury and procuring false registration, according to a release from the district attorney’s office.

Bernett turned herself into the Boulder County Jail on Thursday and was released on a personal recognizance bond of $10,000, with an order to appear in court on Nov. 17. Bernett did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

House District 12 previously included Longmont and Bernett’s primary residence for the 2020 election. Following redistricting, her Longmont address became part of House District 19 and Bernett filed sworn documents with the secretary of state declaring her primary residence to be in Louisville and within House District 12.

In September, Louisville resident and Boulder County Republicans Chairwoman Theresa Watson submitted a complaint accusing Bernett of falsely claiming residency in Louisville.

According to the press release, the district attorney’s office notified the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, but ballots had already been printed. This meant that Bernett’s name would appear on the ballot regardless of the outcome of the district attorney’s investigation.

The charges are only allegations at this time and so will not affect the results of the current election since Bernett is already on the ballot.

The release said that the investigation included the use of witness interviews, search warrants and cell phone location data to determine whether Bernett’s primary residence was in Longmont or at an apartment that she had rented in Louisville starting in November 2021.

The arrest affidavit for Bernett also cited a traffic summons in July of this year, when an officer asked Bernett if the information on her driver’s license — which included her Longmont address — was correct. She replied that it was, according to body camera footage.

On Sept. 28, officers inspected the Louisville apartment for indication of occupancy. According to the affidavit, there were no food items in the refrigerator, cobwebs on the cabinets, no personal photographs, a bed on the floor, single items of clothing and nothing in the garage.

The affidavit said that Bernett, through her attorney, had not given any substantive response to the office’s request for an interview, mitigation or other materials.

As a result of the investigation, the district attorney’s office alleges that Bernett falsely represented her primary residence over a nine-month period. Despite renting an apartment in Louisville, she did not live there and in doing so filed false sworn documents with the Secretary of State, the release said.

By misrepresenting her residence, she is also accused of voting in a primary election in a district in which she does not live.

“The District Attorney’s Office has concluded a thorough investigation,” District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in a statement. “I appreciate the efforts of the investigators assigned to this case, including using proper investigative tools such as the judicially authorized search warrants. Based on the facts and the law, we will now move forward with a criminal prosecution. As in every case, our goal is to seek the right outcome — without fear or favor.”

As of Thursday, Bernett’s ballot for Tuesday’s election had not been recorded as received by the Boulder County clerk, according to the affidavit.

According to an article by Colorado Politics, at least seven Colorado lawmakers currently maintain properties outside of their districts including Bernett. While complaints have been filed against some, no Colorado lawmaker in the last 25 years have been convicted of using one address for residency within a district while living in another, the article said.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

Amy Golden is a reporter for the Longmont Leader covering city and county issues, along with anything else that comes her way.
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