Alaska Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux charged with voter misconduct in 2014, 2018 elections

 Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, chairing a meeting of the House Rules Committee
Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, chairing a meeting of the House Rules Committee (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 12:06 PM AKDT
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An Alaska state lawmaker is facing felony and misdemeanor voter misconduct charges, state Department of Law officials announced Friday.

State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, faces charges of First and Second-Degree Voter misconduct, and unlawful interference of voting. LeDoux's former chief of staff Lisa Simpson, and Simpson's adult son, Caden Vaught, also face charges. The charges indicate that the conduct dates back to 2014.

A charging document in the case says that LeDoux conspired with Simpson to register voters who were not eligible to vote in her district, House District 15, in East Anchorage.

The Alaska Division of Elections prompted the investigation in 2018 by noting that a high number of applications for absentee ballots in the district had irregularities.

In the investigation, prosecutors found that LeDoux had allegedly worked with Simpson to have Simpson, her husband, and her adult son registered to vote in House District 15 in 2018, though they did not live there for 30 days prior to the election.

Text messages referenced in charging documents indicated that LeDoux was pressing for the family to change their voter registration. Caden Vaught was registered to vote three times during the 2018 election cycle, with two different addresses. Only one was in House District 15. Simpson and LeDoux were the signing registrars on all of his voter applications.

He voted in person with a questioned ballot in both the primary and general elections. Investigators had found that though he had lived at both addresses at some point, he did not live in the House District 15 address during the election.

Simpson told LeDoux that her husband did not want to change his voter registration to District 15 until they had moved into a property there. He does not face charges in the case.

The charging documents say that in 2014, LeDoux texted other former residents of House District 15, urging them to request absentee ballots. One of those text messages said, "This is going to b a VERY CLOSE election and I am going to realy NEED your vote." Another, to the same person, said in part, "don't worry about the legality of this. Remember when I wanted to challenge people 4 years ago the division of elections was simply not interested." That person did not vote in the 2015 election in House District 15.

In 2014, documents say a third person was solicited to vote for LeDoux though she didn't live in House District 15. Text messages indicated that the woman told LeDoux she lived in midtown, "but I think I can still vote east side." According to the text message exchange indicated in the charging documents, LeDoux told her to vote in House District 15 and that she could change her registration after the election.

The person was contacted for the investigation in 2020. and had a different recollection of LeDoux's communications. The woman said at the time she had just recently lived in House District 15, but she had recently been living in a temporary residence. The woman said LeDoux had talked to her in person, and that LeDoux suggested she could not do something because the woman did not live in her district.

In 2018, an investigation was begun into Charlie Chang, a consultant LeDoux hired to get out the Hmong vote in her East Anchorage District. Chang died a week after the 2018 Primary election was certified.

The Alaska Division of Elections said absentee ballots had been requested for seven people who were dead in the district. None of the absentee ballots were sent.

At the time, the Division of Elections said 26 "irregular" absentee ballots were cast for LeDoux.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said in a press conference that once the criminal case is completed, more information may be available as to what the full investigation revealed.

During that year, LeDoux had joined a Democratic-led coalition in the House. The Republican party backed a write-in candidate in that election, and the party chair at the time, Tuckerman Babcock, said he believed LeDoux or her campaign had something to do with the voting irregularities.

<[related: republican party looks at write-in campaign if rep. gabrielle ledoux wins primary]< />> "The idea you'd actually go out and file absentee ballots for people who are deceased and file absentee ballots for people who didn't apply, didn't sign, didn't vote, that kind of cheating you should go to prison for," Babcock said in August of 2018. LeDoux said at the time that Babcock had no evidence she did anything wrong and that he was trying to run her out of the party. "I don't think Tuckerman knows anything," LeDoux said at the time. "I think Tuckerman wants to think that something criminal is going on, I don't think Tuckerman has a damn bit of evidence that there is anything criminal going on." Friday afternoon, LeDoux emailed Channel 2 a statement, saying she'd learned of the charges earlier in the day. "Because this is a pending legal matter, I cannot comment about the details other than to state that I am innocent of all charges and look forward to clearing my name in a court of law." Ledoux, Simpson and Vaught are scheduled to be arraigned on April 3. Editor's Note: Aaron Weaver, a challenger to LeDoux in the 2018 Republican Primary, is a former Channel 2 News videographer and an occasional freelance videographer for Channel 2. Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.