-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.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Defendants reply to Surreply regarding Protective Order - Marks v. Koch (Aspen Election Transparency Suit)
Above is opinion by Harvie Branscomb.
Previous coverage of the case is found here: http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2010/02/plaintiffs-surreply-regarding.html
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Plaintiff's Surreply regarding Defendant's Motion to protect TrueBallot from deposition - Marks v. Koch (Aspen Election Transparency Suit)
Above is opinion by Harvie Branscomb.
Click here for the original pdf of the SurreplyToMotionForProtectiveOrder.pdf
Previous coverage of the Marks v. Koch transparency case is located here: http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2010/02/reply-in-support-of-defendants-motion.html
Below the break are links to 2010 coverage:
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Reply in Support of Defendant’s Motion for a Protective Order- Marks v. Koch (Aspen Election Transparency Suit)
The memorandum by the Defendant appears to seek to impair the discovery of facts in the course of the litigation. The Defendant is arguing that the Plaintiff is attempting to contest the election outside of legal time constraints and making suggestions about that motive. Defendant is also appears to be making the argument that benefit to the public interest is not among the possible reasons to inspect ballot images, and that testimony by TrueBallot may show "errors and irregularities" which may be of interest, but not relevant to the case at bar. On the other hand, the possibility of learning about "errors and irregularities" does seem to me to be a reason to inspect the ballot images.
Above is opinion by Harvie Branscomb. Below the break is the memorandum. Here is the link to the earlier coverage of the case: http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2010/02/marks-v-koch-plaintiff-response-to-city.html
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Members of the public can express their desire for transparent access to the court if they wish.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
On February 11, Marilyn Marks' attorney filed a brief in opposition to the City of Aspen motion for a protective order to prevent a deposition of TrueBallot Inc., the company which tabulated the May 5, 2009 election for the City of Aspen. That response is found here, below the break.
Monday, February 8, 2010
1. What might a citizen risk by asking questions? From my perspective, two volunteer commissioners were recently relieved of their role following an unjust smear campaign that prevented their pursuit of election quality improvements. It appears to me that their principal error was to ask difficult questions.
2. Please describe the decision-making process through which Chris Bryan and Elizabeth Milias came to be non members of the Election Commission (CC discussion, vote, etc.).
3. Were there procedural defects reported for the May 5 election, such as less-than-private early voting, keys left in ballot box, insufficient testing, last minute changes to software setup, non-random and incomplete auditing, failure to audit the tabulation in time, etc.?
4. Does the city believe that the ballots and digital images cannot legally be removed from the locked ballot box for inspection?
5. Does Ordinance Sec. 2.26.050 require: “At a minimum, the City Clerk shall arrange the counting of ballots so that the candidates and their representatives may observe the ballots as they are counted?”
6. What powers do you believe the Colorado law says the Election Commission has under the City Charter and state law? Colorado law appears to give power to the Election Commission for purposes of checks and balances.
7. Should City Council members select two election commissioners while essentially employing the third, knowing their own re-election might depend on an Election Commission decision?
8. Are citizen members of the Election Commission expected to avoid representing their party's interests?
9. If future election commissioners learn that election officials have made a mistake do they have any ability to overrule the officials?
10. If it is recognized that irregularities occurred, and since the Election Commission asked, why wasn't the Election Commission allowed to be advised by outside counsel?
11. Does the city inform its citizen volunteers regarding the rules regarding open records and open meetings?
12. Are the recently applied standards for Election Commission meetings and records applied to the Housing Frontiers Board and the Financial Advisory Board?
13. When were the two election commissioners dismissed, or did their term simply end in July? 13b. As a commission member by law, is Kathryn Koch as a lone member of the Election Commission now a quorum by herself and therefore perpetually in a public meeting subject to CORA?
14. Is it possible for someone to overturn the election after the deadline for contests is over?
15. Why was the software configuration changed (presumably to the Cambridge method) the evening before the polls opened without notifying the press, candidates or public?
17. Was a post election public audit to verify the IRV tabulation (not just the interpretation of individual ballots) performed?
18. The City stated in a formal press release that there was a “staff audit of the IRV process.” What “staff audit” of the IRV process took place?
19. Has any City representative stated that someone could use the ballot images to match the ballot contents with the poll book list to identify how voters voted?
20. The Charter calls for a majority of votes cast to win a council seat. Does the language in the Charter actually mean that a majority of voters voting need not have voted for the winner to satisfy the law?
21. Was the public told that a lower ranking on IRV cannot hurt a first ranked candidate’s chances of winning?
22. Were the Diebold machines used to officially count the Art Museum vote?
23. Why was the early voting ballot box in City Hall not always locked?
24. Does the law allow early voting for city elections?
25. Q. With respect to the IRV ballots, what definitions does the city use for each of the following terms:
26. Q. With respect to the definitions, above, where in the law is each definition specified?
28. Why do Aspen rules require #1 and or #2 choices to be ranked to be eligible for IRV counting, when common IRV practice is to ignore gaps. For example, if only #3 and #5 are ranked these are usually regarded as #1 and #2 choices.
29. Is there a legal challenge process for the voters who did not find their string in the published list of ballot strings?
30. [not applicable to be answered by the City]
31. Are any materials from the L&A tests (both AV-OS and IRV) available to the public?
32. Since the software counting method had to be adjusted during the course of election eve, isn't it fair to say that the system used was not fully tested?
34: Question: If you can get an image of everyone's ballot, will you be able to see who the voter was?
35: Question: The Colorado Bar Association says it doesn't address the condition that the Election Commission (EC) and the City are directly adverse to one another. Why wasn't this possibility considered in the query to the Ethics Committee?
36: Question: The Ethics Committee replied that it doesn't know if the EC is a client of the City Attorney. Is the EC a client of the City Attorney?
37: Question: If the EC is a client of the City Attorney is that representation subject to the consent of the Election Commission, as the CBA indicates?
38: Question: If the EC refuses the representation of the City Attorney, does it have a right to counsel, and should that counsel be paid for by the City? If not, why not?
39: Question: If the EC is not a client of the City Attorney does it have a right to counsel?
40: Question: Why would the City want to file a motion for a protective order to prevent Marilyn Marks from obtaining testimony from True Ballot Inc. by deposition?
41: Question: Why is the City Attorney complaining to Judge Boyd about the cost of defending the litigation against the City Clerk for inspection of ballot images?
42: Question: Why can't the city provide copies of the spoiled ballots which are classified as "other election records"?
signed by Harvie Branscomb
Friday, February 5, 2010
The City of Aspen's May 2009 election has spiraled into a lawsuit that looks like it could finally make its way to court. Former Aspen Mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks wants access to ballot images to verify the method for counting votes. But so far the city has refused saying it would violate state law. On Thursday a judge scheduled a hearing for late March. KDNK's Conrad Wilson reports.
Download mp3 file
---- older media reports follow below the break----
It is ironic that the City of Aspen promoted the idea of transparency about its election prior to undertaking the first public IRV election in Colorado. They contracted with a company whose primary service is providing a fully transparent means of tabulating an election, including single ballot audit ability and several tools to allow the public to fully verify the election. But the City chose to withhold one of those tools, a CD of ballot images, from the public. Marilyn Marks, an ex-candidate in the election, issued an open records request to the City for access to the CD and was rejected. Upon pursuing a suit to obtain that transparency under law, the City is now choosing to try to prevent Marilyn Marks, from learning more under oath from the company which provided Aspen citizens with access to that transparency in order to support her case for transparency.
Surely there is no reason why it would harm the public to know more about how their election was performed.
[above is opinion by H. Branscomb]
Previous coverage of the case including filed documents are located at this link:
- Defendants reply to Surreply regarding Protective ...
- Plaintiff's Surreply regarding Defendant's Motion ...
- 2010 links to media coverage of Aspen election act...
- Reply in Support of Defendant’s Motion for a Prote...
- Court Requested to Permit Video Recording of Mar...
- Marks v. Koch - Plaintiff response to City motion ...
- Questions Mailed to Aspen Special Counsel Jim True...
- new: KDNK News: Media coverage of Aspen election &...
- Marks v. Koch - City Motion for Protective Order -...
- ▼ Feb (9)