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Complaint questions home address of House District 12 candidate

Voter asks district attorney to investigate Rep. Bernett, who is running for reelection this year
This screenshot of a post on Rep. Tracey Bernett's Facebook page is dated Jan. 7 and allegedly depicts Bernett at her Longmont home. It was submitted with several other social media posts and public documents by Theresa Watson in a complaint that accuses Bernett of lying about her home address for the upcoming election.

A voter is alleging that a Colorado House Representative is deceiving voters about her home address.

Theresa Watson, chairwoman of the Boulder County Republicans and Louisville resident, submitted a complaint to Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty on Monday. The complaint, which Watson provided to the Longmont Leader, asks the district attorney’s office to investigate whether State House Representative Tracey Bernett qualifies as a legal resident in House District 12 for the purpose of running as a candidate for the district.

Bernett, a Democrat, is currently running for her third term as representative of Colorado House District 12, which changed boundaries for this election due to the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Previously, District 12 covered southeastern Longmont, Gooding, Louisville and Lafayette. For the upcoming election, the district will no longer include Longmont, instead representing Lake Valley, Niwot, Superior, Louisville, Lafayette and Gunbarrel.

Through Oct. 15, 2021, Bernett’s candidate filings with the Colorado Secretary of State listed her address at a home in Longmont within the former District 12 boundaries. With redistricting, that address — whose owner is listed as the Bernett Revocable Trust according to Boulder County property records — no longer sits within District 12.

With redistricting, that address will be in House District 19 for the upcoming election, which leans Republican by 1.5% based on data compiled by the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission.

On Nov. 3, 2021, Bernett submitted a candidate affidavit to the Colorado Secretary of State certifying herself as a candidate for House District 12 with a physical address based in Louisville. By Colorado law, candidates for state representative must have resided within their districts for at least 12 months preceding the election, which is Nov. 8 this year.

Bernett did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

State law defines a person’s residence as “the principal or primary home or place of abode ... in which a person’s habitation is fixed and to which that person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning after a departure or absence, regardless of the duration of the absence.”

Watson cites a number of public records and social media posts as evidence that Bernett continues to reside in Longmont and not at the Louisville address used in her candidacy affidavit.

According to voter registration records, Bernett’s husband Frank Bernett continues to live at the Longmont address. The two are still married, and Watson provided a social media post in June from Tracey Bernett celebrating her husband and indicating no change in marital status.

According to social media posts shared in the complaint, Bernett has posted repeatedly through the summer about her garden and tomato plants, which appear to be grown at the Longmont address along with other posts apparently showing her inside the Longmont house. Bernett also attended virtual meetings where the inside of the house appears to be the Longmont home, the complaint shows.

A spokesperson for the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that they have received Watson’s complaint.

“As with any email from a community member, our office will conduct a preliminary review to determine whether a criminal investigation is warranted or not,” the spokesperson said, adding that the process usually takes a couple weeks.