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Vander Veen won't be punished



Alissa Vander Veen will face no penalties for voting in the September recall election of state Sen. John Morse, even though she did not live in his district. Nor will her voter registration be changed to reflect her current address in Pueblo.

Vander Veen helped get Wayne Williams elected as El Paso County clerk before going to work for him as his deputy. In early 2013, she left the position to accept a marketing job with Challenger Homes. Emails sent to her at Challenger seeking comment for this story were not returned.

Vander Veen and her husband Adam bought a home in Pueblo in November 2012 and have lived there ever since, far from Senate District 11, which Morse held until his recall. Yet the Vander Veens' voter registrations still are listed within District 11, at 712 E. Española St., Colorado Springs, a home owned by Alissa's parents with renters living in it.

Vander Veen's vote came at a time when some Republicans were claiming that a new election law passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature would legalize voter fraud. Some activists even voted out of their districts to prove the point, most notably the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara, who cast a blank ballot in the District 11 recall despite living in Boulder.

Williams forwarded the Vander Veen case to the Colorado Attorney General's Office, which doesn't normally comment on such issues, but made an exception in this case.

"After review of the currently known facts ... it is our office's belief that the filing of a criminal case is not appropriate at this time," Attorney General spokesperson Carolyn Tyler said.

Jeffrey Weston, El Paso County's assistant election manager, challenged both Alissa and Adam's voter registrations, seeking to have them changed to their Pueblo address. But in a hearing overseen by Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith, the Vander Veens were both allowed to keep them as they are.

He said the Vander Veens' argument that they planned to return to El Paso County at some time was sufficient, and noted that Adam is in nursing school in Pueblo, that Alissa works in El Paso County, and that Adam has a child in Pueblo.

Christy Le Lait, executive director of the El Paso County Democratic Party, called out issues of voter fraud in the Morse recall, and says she's appalled the Vander Veens haven't faced penalties.

"If that's [legal], you could vote in any state you've lived in," she says, adding, "That sounds like political favor to me."

J. Adrian Stanley

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