Anchorage Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux was charged by state prosecutors Friday, Mar. 13, with voter misconduct and unlawful interference with voting.
One of the charges is a felony, which carries a sentence of up to five years in jail.
LeDoux was in a House floor session in Juneau while prosecutors announced the charges at a press conference in Anchorage.
The charges stem from an investigation into the 2018 Republican House primary.
Five days before that primary election, the state Division of Elections told Alaska State Troopers that there appeared to be irregularities with absentee ballot applications in LeDoux’s district, according to the charging document. The troopers’ investigation led to more than 25 search warrants over the next several months.
The warrants led to text messages to and from LeDoux and others, including her former chief of staff Lisa M. Simpson, that raised concerns.
Prosecutors say LeDoux texted people to vote in her district in 2014, even after they told her they no longer lived in the district. She won the election by just 117 votes over Aaron Weaver.
Simpson and her adult son Caden C. Vaught were also charged with various crimes in connection with the incident.
Prosecutors say they’ve served LeDoux a summons.
LeDoux said in a written statement: “Earlier today, I learned of the charges from the Department of Law. 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 has worked as a lawyer, but she isn’t currently practicing.
One of the charges against LeDoux was for felony voter misconduct, which carries a sentence of up to five years in jail. She also faces nine misdemeanor charges.
The charges will go to a grand jury, which will determine whether to proceed to a trial.
LeDoux doesn’t belong to either House caucus. She represented Kodiak in the House from 2005 to 2009, and an Anchorage district since 2013.
Prosecutors declined to comment on previously reported concerns centered on LeDoux and a political consultant she hired to get out the vote in the district’s Hmong community. The consultant died shortly after the investigation was first reported.
Prosecutors say they would be able to say more about those concerns in the future.
State elections officials had concerns about 26 absentee ballots in the district’s 2018 primary, all of which were cast for LeDoux. Seven requests for absentee ballots in the 2018 primary also were filed in the names of dead people. Those ballots weren’t mailed out.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.