It was re-titled "Ballots brouhaha" by the paper.
Here below the break is an extended cover letter to the Aspen City Council containing a copy of the letter as submitted:
-------- Original Message --------
|Subject:||LTE - Incredible Disappearing Ballot Images|
|Date:||Fri, 12 Mar 2010 02:28:42 -0700|
|From:|| Harvie Branscomb |
|To:||'Mick Ireland' |
Aspen Daily News
970-925-2220 ext. 216
Why has the city been so aggressively holding back anonymous May 5th images of ballots?
A year ago, when Marilyn Marks and a few others were complaining about IRV and concerned about minimal testing of an uncertified voting system, City Hall repeatedly assured that the public would see “total transparency,” and robust testing. Those excellent promises were only partially fulfilled.
The mayor asserted before the election: “this process will be transparent because we will get to see all the ballots as counted.” “One of the things that created confidence in Minnesota was that they actually showed ballots being counted.” (Feb. 2, ‘09)
On election-day, candidate Marilyn Marks asked officials how to obtain a copy of the ballot images which would be displayed that evening on large screens. The city gave no indication that election night’s projections would be the first and last chance to observe all ballot images. We later learned the May 7 limited public “audit” of 260 ballots was the end of promised “total transparency” of the ballots. At that point all ballots plus images were locked away, other than the few hundred captured on GRTV recordings.
Shortly after Marilyn’s reasonable CORA request to inspect images for process improvement, strong voices for transparency suffered a dramatic and unsettling shift. The city thereafter claimed that to repeat their previous disclosure of ballot images, anonymous by law, would cause significant harm to the public interest. Confused?
Ireland: ”I thought we were not going to disclose the ballots. It is detrimental, and [will] cast doubt on the election.” “When you go vote, the presumption is that no one is going to look at your ballot.” “In 100 years no one has ever felt the need to go look at the ballots.” (Aug. 10, ‘09)
Romero: “Disclosing ballots would be a breach of public faith.” “Public had a fair expectation that there would be no such activity.” (Aug. 10 ‘09)
Skadron: “In no way could I find myself permitting disclosure of those ballot images. I find it absolutely wrong.” (Aug. 10, ‘09)
How did proclaimed public benefits of “see-and-count-for-yourself-ballots” morph into claims that disclosure does significant public injury? Is “public disclosure” a good idea only so long as the images flash by so fast that no one can analyze their contents?
The court has now simply dismissed Marks’ case for transparency two days prior to receiving the results of a deposition planned for March 12 and the anticipated hearing of extensively prepared arguments on March 22. Dazed and confused? Follow the Aspen election coverage here:http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com