A lawsuit filed this month claims seven petition circulators gathering signatures to place U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn on the Republican primary ballot were not Colorado residents, making the signatures invalid.
In a conversation with Complete Colorado at his Aurora residence, petition circulator Terrance Despres Jr., named in the lawsuit, insists six of the seven circulators are Colorado residents. If the 269 of the 1269 total signatures submitted by the seventh circulator, Ryan Tipple, are invalid, Lamborn would end up with exactly the 1,000 signatures he needs.
Despres said Tipple does not live in the house with the other six workers. Asked if any of the other people on the list were home Despres said, “Not the people you just named off, no. We just got back here because we were on another project in Michigan. We travel all over. We’re waiting for everyone else to get out here. They all have residency here.”
Despres said the team lives in Colorado because of the residency requirement for petition circulators here. But the team frequently travels for work in states that don’t require residency.
“I can show you right now that I live here,” said Despres, showing Complete Colorado a Colorado ID issued Jan. 30, 2018. “We all did that right before we started. That was the rule. If you came out here you had to register to vote, you had to get either a license or an ID,” he continued.
Countering the lawsuit’s claims, Despres said “Colorado is our main state now. This wasn’t like our first project out here either. We’ve done a lot of work for other companies here. It’s kind of funny that these allegations come up. I know it’s a political campaign, it gets a little dirty.”
Despres returned to Aurora from a job in Michigan earlier that morning. “It’s tough. When we get time off it’s nice. Because we do work every day,” he said.
Asked if he still held a Michigan driver’s license, Despres said “I have another license in Michigan, they made me get a Colorado ID just so I could work out here, but it (the Michigan license) got canceled out when I got the new ID here in Colorado.”
A woman at the home who said her name is Trisha confirmed she was also a paid circulator.
“We haven’t even gotten anything about a lawsuit, so it is weird,” Tricia said, “I had a private investigator come by last night, but everybody was gone but me. We had a two-week break. We do hard work every day. We were in Colorado Springs a couple of years ago.”
Contacted by phone the morning of April 6, Tipple said he is a Colorado resident and lives in Colorado Springs. Tipple decline to answer questions in that call but said he would speak with Complete Colorado later in the day.
An afternoon call to confirm facts and ask for comment to the same phone number Tipple answered in the morning found the phone number disconnected.
Research reveals Tipple may have lived briefly at a house on Amberwood Lane in Colorado Springs, with friend Joshua Vanderbilt in 2013. El Paso County records show Tipple does not own that home.
Background research suggests that Tipple hasn’t lived at the Amberwood Lane address since 2013. Lynn Bartels, Communications Director for the Colorado Secretary of State confirmed that the Amberwood Lane address is the one listed on the petition circulator’s information sheet Tipple filled out. Falsifying circulator information is a crime.
Colorado voter registration data shows Tipple registered to vote in Colorado May 19, 2016.
A search of California voter records shows Tipple registered to vote in Ventura County, California April 8, 2016, and remains eligible to vote there.
Public records show Tipple owns property in Ventura, California. Tipple’s voter registration street number matches California property records for a residence in Ventura he purchased Jan. 27, 2016.
All told the suit challenges 696 of the 1,269 signatures accepted by the secretary of state March 29, 427 of which were collected by the six workers living in Aurora.