-Aspen's historic May 5, 2009 IRV election audited as single ballots- 5/5/09 Aspen CO held an instant runoff election (IRV) for mayor and 2 council members. Interpreted contents of each ballot, scanned by True Ballot, were publicly released. Open records requests for a CD of image scans were denied. Aspen has been sued to protect records from destruction and to allow inspection of the scanned ballot files. A Court of Appeals ruling holds that unidentifiable ballots are public records.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2005-2009 Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election review

There are so many links in media to this topic I have archived the 2009 activity here and started a new list for 2010. [H. Branscomb]

2010 links to media coverage are here:  http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2010/01/2010-links-to-media-coverage-of-aspen.html

The two Aspen Colorado papers and three state-wide and several national blogs have been covering the topic of the Aspen May 5 IRV election and the upcoming Aspen Election Independent Review and numerous letters to editor. Here is a perhaps not complete collection of them:

12/15/09: ASPEN ELECTION NOT OUT OF CONTROL (satirical video)

Black BoxVoting.org

Huffington Post:
11/23/09: Guest Opinion: Marilyn Marks http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wires/2009/11/23/guest-opinion-marilyn-mar_ws_367225.html

Colorado Independent:
11/23/09: Election dispute, lawsuit, squabbling continue in Aspen http://coloradoindependent.com/42856/election-dispute-lawsuit-squabbling-continue-in-aspen

1/1/2010: Aspen Daily News:  Year in Review, item #9:
9. Aspen’s election and subsequent fallout

Almost eight months after Aspen’s last municipal election, city officials complain about the amount of time still taken up by election-related issues, and losing mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks is soliciting donations from around the country to fund her lawsuit against the city.

The basics of the situation are this: The city in May held its first election using instant runoff voting, a controversial method in which voters rank their choices. In IRV, if no candidate gets enough votes to win in the first count, lower-ranking candidates are eliminated and their votes are redistributed using voters’ ranked preference, so that government agencies can conduct elections without having to go to a later runoff round. Using this method, Ireland was re-elected and Derek Johnson and Torre won council seats. Voters also rejected a proposal for the Aspen Art Museum to buy public land for a new facility.

Even before the election, Marks, who is no fan of IRV, tried to stop the method from being used. After the election was conducted, Marks raised questions about voting procedures used during the election, and requested to see photographic images of the physical ballots cast. The images would be used to cross-check one of the two voting machines used in City Hall. The city claims that releasing the ballot images would be unconstitutional and Marks sued. The case is pending.

Meanwhile, the city’s official Election Commission, which in the past functioned mostly on election night to resolve voter intent and eligibility questions, was targeted as a forum for Marks and others to pursue their goal of a broader election review. The commission requested funds for its own attorney, with two of the three members saying they couldn’t rely on the advice of the city attorney’s office because of a perceived conflict of interest since city attorneys helped design IRV.

Then, former city Councilman Jack Johnson, who was voted out of office in the May election, read through election commissioner e-mails, which showed a few meetings between two of three election commissioners that were not conducted using a public meeting process, as well as heavy lobbying by Marks for the commission to use its yet-undefined powers to analyze the pros and cons of the May election.

In the drama that followed, the city determined that the current Election Commission was in violation of the City Charter because the commissioners’ terms technically ended in July. The commission was disbanded and the city is currently seeking to form a new Election Commission.
— Curtis Wackerle
[full article here: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/138557 ]

Below the break are:
Aspen Public Radio (KAJX):  6 radio programs
Aspen Times: 48 articles or editorials or columns or letters to editor
Aspen Daily News: 40 articles or editorials or columns or letters to editor
and others.

Aspen Public Radio (KAJX):

12/25/09:  It's been nearly 8 months since Aspen's May municipal election, but the controversy still stirs. The entire affair is making national news, of sorts...on a satirical website out of California.

10/27/09: A former Aspen City Council member asked the current council for help with an open records request. Jack Johnson wants public documents pertaining to the City's Election Commission. He says he does not believe Election Commissioners have been fully compliant. Aspen Public Radio's Mitzi Rapkin reports.
10/27/09: http://www.aspenpublicradio.com/news/10-27NEWS.mp3
10/28/09: http://www.aspenpublicradio.com/news/10-28NEWS.mp3
10/29/09: http://www.aspenpublicradio.org/news_archive_detail.php?story=514
10/30/09: http://www.aspenpublicradio.org/news_archive_detail.php?story=515
11/11/09: http://www.aspenpublicradio.com/news/11-11NEWS.mp3

On Dec.3 the top three out of 5 most commented articles were about the Aspen Election review or about articles or letters referring to some involvement in either the election or the review. A small mob of anonymous bloggers with names like "we deserve better", "spock", "klingon", "animal safety", etc. have generated a continuous stream of invective on this newspaper's blog about Marilyn Marks and others pursuing election integrity and reform. Marilyn Marks and Harvie Branscomb and most others supporting the review have been commenting under their true identity.  On Christmas Day, we are again by far the most commented upon topic at the Aspen Times:

Who decides what the people ... (79)  (Marilyn Marks' letter)
Marks provides important ser... (28)  (Bev Harris' letter)
Hidden Gems backers strike d... (14)
Forest Service sticking to i... (14)
Local groups unfazed by R... (14)
(h.b. 12/25/09 2:32 PM)

Aspen Times:
1/1/2010:   Aspen mayor reflects on '09
"Ireland said too much time, energy and money has been wasted on political fighting with his critics over the results of the May election. A few individuals are questioning the integrity of the municipal election, which was conducted with the first Instant Runoff Voting method. It's very disappointing that we have to spend time on this,” he said. "

1/1/2010: Aspen's bad example

12/30/09: Is IRV too complicated?
12/28/09: One dozen excuses (letter by Marilyn Marks)

12/27/09: Aspen's newsmakers of the year (see #7 Marilyn Marks)

12/24/09:  Election Questions (letter by Harvie Branscomb)

12/19/09:  Marks provides important service (letter by Bev Harris of Black Box Voting)

12/17/08:  Call me anytime (letter by Aspen City Attorney Jim True)

12/15/09: Who decides what the people may know? (letter by Marilyn Marks)

12/14/09: Listen to the canary (letter concerning Marilyn Marks by Philip Verleger)

12/03/09: The Marks message (letter by Jack Johnson)

12/02/09: The cost of botched elections (letter by Marilyn Marks)

11/28/09: What is truth? (letter by Harvie Branscomb)

11/24/09: Aspen seeks new members for election commission
Controversial citizen board out of compliance with city charter

11/23/09: Marilyn Marks: Guest opinion
‘Voiding the election' — a three-word smoking gun?

11/23/09: Aspen election commission under fire over e-mail exchanges
Private communications raise ethical and legal questions

11/19/09: Chris Cassatt cartoon: page A47

11/18/09: Andy Stone: A Stone's Throw: Get my hip boots! Better yet, get a good reporter

11/13/09: Roger Marolt: Roger This: Marilyn making her marks on the Election Committee

11/11/09: Su Lum: Slumming

11/11/09: The public's right to know

10/30/09: Give IRV a chance

10/30/09: IRV hurts winning candidates

10/28/09: Shooting the messenger

10/28/09: Votes weren't wasted

10/27/09: Marketing district question pulled from Aspen ballot

10/26/09: Keep it simple, vote against IRV

10/10/2009: Aspen's Marks sues for release of city's May ballots

9/22/09: Big changes needed to election system

9/22/09: IRV worked, lets move on

9/18/09: More to the story

9/17/09: Guest Opinion: Instant runoff election a model of transparency and verifiability

9/16/09: City off to the bar (association)

9/15/09: Council denies election commission's request

9/3/09: Aspen's May election faces more challenges

8/29/09: Paul Menter: Guest opinion

8/28/09: Release the ballots, now

8/27/09: City responds to ballot issue

8/25/09: Aspen voters to weigh in on election method

8/22/09: Harvie Branscomb and Al Kowicz: Guest opinion: Make computer files open to public http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090822/COLUMN/908219977/1021/NONE&parentprofile=1061

8/21/09: Sally Spaulding: Guest Opinion http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090815/LETTER/908159995&parentprofile=search

8/19/09: Make the ballots public http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090819/LETTER/908189974&parentprofile=search

8/18/09: What are they hiding? http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090818/LETTER/908179984/1020/NONE&parentprofile=1061

8/15/09: Release the ballots

8/12/09: What's the secret behind ballots? http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090812/DAILYCOMMENT/908119977&parentprofile=search

7/29/09: Su Lum: Instant Runoff Voting revisited (again) http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090729/COLUMN/907289973/1021/NONE&parentprofile=1061N

7/27/09: Aspen's May election under review http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090727/NEWS/907279983&parentprofile=search

7/22/09: Aspen voters to vote on how they vote — again

7/9/2009: Have a say in how you vote

6/10/2009: IRV much worse than old runoffs

6/9/2009: IRV better than old runoffs

 5/29/2009: Ireland wins Aspen mayoral race again

5/27/2009:  Su Lum: Slumming

5/18/2009: Input, please

5/13/2009: Su Lum: Slumming

5/8/2009: IRV passes first test

5/8/09: Audit of Aspen’s election shows no holes in system

5/7/2009: Marks accepts Aspen election result

5/6/2009: About last night

5/6/2009: Aspen voter turnout breaks record

5/6/2009: Ireland re-elected as Aspen mayor; Marks: ?It?s not over?

5/5/2009: Aspen?s instant runoff voting quick but confusing

5/5/2009: Aspen election facing challenge

5/5/2009: Ireland leads Aspen mayoral race

5/5/2009: Ireland re-elected as Aspen mayor

[campaign letters have not been included here, for the most part- there are many of them- HB]

5/4/2009: The ABCs of instant runoff voting Tuesday in Aspen

5/4/2009: GrassRoots to cover Aspen election

5/2/2009: A hit piece on Marks

4/15/2009:  Aspen election spending tops $50,000

4/8/2009:  Su Lum: Slumming

4/4/2009: Aspen election: Four run for mayor, nine for council

3/31/2009: Beware of political contribution limitations

3/24/2009:  Ant for mayor? Only in Aspen

3/10/2009:  Aspen council adopts instant runoff voting method

2/28/2009:  Aspen task force chooses a ?hybrid? voting system

2/25/2009:  Instant runoff voting hits a nerve

2/24/2009:  Aspen council holds off on city election method

2/23/2009:  The anomalies of Instant Runoff Voting

2/23/2009:  Outraged over IRV

2/23/2009:  Voting method ill advised

2/19/2009:  Aspen mulls new voting method

2/18/09: Su Lum: On dogs, ants and instant runoff voting http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20090218/COLUMN/902179946/

11/12/2008:  Colorado panel to look at paper ballots, all-mail voting

8/12/2008:  Jack Johnson: Guest opinion

6/19/2008:  Council demeanor damaged public process

6/4/2008:  Man denied access to clerks meeting in Glenwood Springs

3/21/2008:  Colorado back to electronic voting

3/19/2008:  Colorado election plan still up in air

3/14/2008:  Colorado lawmakers consider spending nearly $11M on paper ballot elections

3/7/2008:  Some Colorado counties say voting machine upgrades too pricey

3/5/2008:  Senate committee backs paper ballots

3/3/2008:  Paper ballots get first hearing at Capitol

2/28/2008:  Scanners used in 47 Colorado counties recertified for elections

2/27/2008:  Paper ballots for Colorado voting?

2/26/2008:  Decision due on Colorado voting machines

2/21/2008:  County officials dispute state test results on voting equipment

2/11/2008:  Ritter signs bill allowing retesting of Colorado voting machines

1/26/2008:  Colorado clerks warn of long lines, delayed results with paper ballots

1/25/2008:  Pitkin County voting machines up to snuff

1/23/2008:  Garfield County clerk needs answer on voting machines

1/23/2008:  Gov. Ritter, Colorado lawmakers want paper election in 2008

1/17/2008:  Bill would let state official retest electronic voting machines

1/17/2008:  County clerks want all-mail ballot after machine, database problems

1/10/2008:  Can Colorado voting machines be fixed?

12/31/2007:  With elections looming, doubts raised about electronic voting

12/29/2007:  4. Mick Ireland, Aspen?s controversial mayor

12/26/2007:  Fate of Garfield County?s voting machines may await legislative decision

12/21/2007:  Pitkin County voting machines on track

12/18/2007:  Garfield County voting machines lose certification

11/7/2007:  Voters approve instant runoff voting

11/6/2007:  Aspen voters decide on?voting

10/26/2007:  We support Instant Runoff Voting

10/26/2007:  Let?s stop dragging out our elections

10/24/2007:  Garco election suffers ballot glitch

8/24/2007:  Aspen's ready for Instant Runoff Voting

8/21/2007:  Democracy in action or inaction?

8/20/2007:  City plans election on elections

7/18/2007:  Voters to decide on runoffs, mayoral term

7/10/2007:  Overhauling elections

7/10/2007:  Aspen residents to vote in June?

5/31/2007:  A better way to vote

5/11/2007:  Exhaustion, expense of runoffs

5/10/2007:  Are runoff results predetermined?

5/9/2007:  Instant voting: How it works

5/8/2007:  Aspenites choosing new leader

5/4/2007:  Candidates shine through cloudy election  (editorial)

5/3/2007:  Voters skirt Election Day, cast ballots early

8/2/2006:  Instant runoff voting raises questions

7/2/2005:  Go for instant runoff

6/13/2005:  Instant runoffs in Aspen?

6/9/2005:  Runoff vote: What's the point?

Aspen Daily News:
1/1/2010:  Year in Review (see #9 on election)

12/19/09: Inside voices (letter by Marilyn Marks)

12/18/09: City of Aspen looks to fill Election Commission openings

12/11/09: Milias e-mail takes aim at a reporter

11/29/09: Letter from the re-education camp (letter by Marilyn Marks)

11/29/09: Quotes of the Week: “We’re in violation of our own charter.”— Councilman Torre,

11/29/09: Free speech and the almighty ad hominem attack

11/27/09: Trust us, your election is just fine (letter by Harvie Branscomb)

11/24/09: Council moves to appoint new election commission

11/23/09: Election commissioners’ terms not in line with charter

11/13/09: Two dedicated women

11/12/09: City seeks dismissal of Marks suit

11/2/09: Mail-in voting turnout tops 2,000 as Election Day looms

10/29/09: Election commissioner didn’t know meetings violated law

10/29/09: Ballot error surfaces in already snafued election

10/28/09: Chamber stunned by marketing question withdrawal

10/27/09: Aspen should scrap Instant Runoff Voting

10/27/09: Aspen withdraws marketing district ballot question

10/24/09: Voter omissions threaten validity of ballot question

10/24/09: Wasted ballots

10/20/09: No poll watchers yet for mail-in election

10/18/09: Voters to vote on how they voted

10/17/09: Ballots will be kept past Nov. deadline

10/12/09: Marks sues city clerk, demands release of ballots

9/25/09: Puzzled

9/21/09: Support the election commission

9/15/09: Election commission questions will linger

9/3/09: Election commission unsure of powers

9/1/09: Attorney claims ballots may be identifiable

8/24/09: More calls for release of ballots

8/24/09: A ballot catch-22

8/23/09: Poll alternatives (LTE by Harvie Branscomb)

8/21/09: Show us our ballots

8/19/09: Minnesota group takes aim at Aspen's election http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/136163

8/12/09: City sticks to position not to release ballots

7/22/09: Instant runoff voting going back to voters

2/28/09: Committee crafts hybrid voting method

2/24/09: Instant runoff voting decision delayed

2/19/09: Public weighs instant runoff in mock election

2/18/09: Instant runoff trial is tonight



11/25/09 Aspen voters-don't ask questons! IL:Undervote lawsuit filed, NC BCBS campaign triggers probe ~Harvie Branscomb about Aspen Colorado's shameful efforts to keep the election process closed to the public and the McCarthy-style tactics

8/31/09: August 31, 2009 Smartmatic demo glitch, Was Aspen election ... Aspen voter complaint asks if election was held by secret ballot or not. http://votingnews.blogspot.com/2009/08/smartmatic-demo-glitch-was-aspen.html

11/30/09 Humboldt's Nov 3 ballots go public, NY 23 election pilot update, Glasgow KY ditching e-voting
CO: Aspen Times poll about releasing ballots (from Aspen Election May 5 2009) http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2009/11/aspen-times-poll-about-releasing.html

WillYourVoteBCounted's Journal - 10/24. US First Open Source ...
Another Aspen Colorado election snafu: the wrong ballot was sent out to some voters. The Mayor is "unsure what threshold number of tainted ballots should ...journals.democraticunderground.com/WillYourVoteBCounted/440

11/23/09: NY-23 election questions, Benton AR flirts with election ...
Aspen Colorado officials still not ready to make ballot image files public...

CA: November 3rd election, scanning in progressHumboldt County Election Transparency ProjectWe've started scanning ballots from the November 3rd election. Due to the horribly light turnout, we're almost done.This election is using Hart ballots and equipment, rather than Diebold/Premier.
more on the project at http://humtp.com/index.html

CO: Eection dispute, lawsuit, squabbling continue in Aspen11/23/09 If often takes a while for things to settle down in a small town after an election. But Aspenites are taking things to extremes. They’re still arguing about their recent city election— the one they held in May.http://coloradoindependent.com/42856/election-dispute-l...

CO: Aspen Election Review - May 5 2009 (IRV single ballot audit unit)Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election reviewhttp://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2009/08/links-t...

CO: Election commissioners’ terms not in line with charterNovember 23, 2009 http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/137745

8/22/09: Strategically placed over Aspen OpEd - "Make Computer Files Public ...
The citizens of Aspen are asking: Whose election is this anyway? Does it belong to the government — made up of the very officials who are candidates in each ...

8/24/09: Smartmatic must reveal source code, WVA touchscreens easily hacked,Aspen ballot battle continues
3 posts - 2 authors - Last post: Aug 25 The two Aspen Colorado papers and one state-wide blog have been covering the topic of the Aspen May 5 IRV election and the upcoming Aspen CO. Links to media- discussion of ballot release and election reviewThe two Aspen Colorado papers and one state-wide blog have been covering the topic of the Aspen May 5 IRV election and the upcoming Aspen Election Independent Review and numerous letters to editor. Here is a perhaps not complete collection of them:

CO. More calls for release of ballots August 24, 2009 ....Sources from across the state and the political spectrum called into question the city of Aspen’s reasoning for not making citizens’ ballots from the May election public......Thomas Kelley, a Denver attorney who specializes in open records law, said he has studied the issue before and concluded that ballots are subject to open records requests, as long as the ballots don’t identify the voter.

7/31/09: Voting News. Aspen ballot battle continues, NVRA under-used, House passes absentee ballot track
CO. Aspen: Ballots are exempt from state open records law
July 31, 2009 Citizens seeking to conduct an independent review of Aspen's last municipal election have run into a road block at city hall, where officials are refusing to release key documents into the public domain.Democrat election buff Harvie Branscomb has teamed up with former Republican Aspen mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks to analyze the voting methods and software in the city's last election, including the use of instant runoff voting. To audit the vote, Branscomb's team needs copies of April's ballots plus data generated by vote-counting machines, which the City Council asserts aren't public records under state law.

7/28/09: Voting News.Aspen to get independ audit, money woes, online registration, vote renting
CO. Aspen's May election under reviewIndependent group conducting audit of Instant Runoff Voting results
ASPEN — A small group of Instant Runoff Voting junkies plan to do an independent review of Aspen's May election...Part of that information includes Marks' Colorado Open Record Act request for all, or a portion of, the 2,600 ballots casts by Aspen voters....City attorney John Worcester has denied that request, arguing that voters' ballots should be private, per the city's home rule charter and the council's intent to keep them from public review. Branscomb told the council Tuesday that he plans to challenge that position because in order to do a full audit of the election, his team must start from the beginning, which are the paper ballots. Individuals' votes ought to be checked against how the scanning machines interpreted them, he argues.


12/15/09: Video lampoons Aspen Instant Runoff Voting election – vote early

10/30/09: Aspen Election Commission Allegations with Jack Johnson

5/4/2009: 2009 City of Aspen Municipal Election Coverage

4/22/09: ACRA presents: All The Best - 'Election 2009: I.R.V.' With Jim True and Kathryn Koch

Personal Postings:
11/20/09: Jack Johnson allegation pdf:

This Blog (aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com):
9/22/09: Millard Zimet's commentary about his complaint:

5/17/09: IRV in Aspen — a tale of spoiled ballots, voter confusion and corners cut

10/26/09: Aspen May 2009 Election Matters

11/2/09: Jack on the attack

10/26/09: Marks Trying To Void Mayoral Election

Face The State:
8/19/09: Minnesota group plns suit over Aspen election -Aspen Daily News

8/19/09: IRV makes sense for Aspen

7/31/09: Aspen: Ballots are exempt from state open records law

9/10/09: All posts in the topic Aspen Instant Run Off Voting

Voting Matters Blog:
5/17/09: IRV in Aspen - a tale of spoiled ballots, voter confusion and corners cut


5/27/09: Marilyn Marks: See how she runs

Boulder Daily Camera & Colorado Ethics Watch

3/9/07: Elections need oversight

9/3/09: Aspen's May election faces more challenges

Some of the more interesting links to above coverage:

12/22/09: wilderside.com
7/31/09: freerepublic.com

7/31/09: uscv-voting_activists

7/31/09: aspentovail.com

6/3/098: Indymedia: Aspen Instant Runoff a Lemon? IRV Leaves a Bitter Aftertaste

5/20/09: election-methods: Aspen CO's IRV/STV Election - Fwd: "Good Things Come to Those Who Rank?"

Official Documents from City of Aspen:

on August 22 2009 there were 296,000 hits on Google for search string - aspen ballots
on December 18, 2009 there were 372,000 hits on Google for search string - aspen ballots
on August 22 2009 there were 137,000 hits on Google for search string - aspen ballots irv
on Sept. 18 2009 there were 1,100,000 hits on Google for search strng - aspen ballots irv

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