-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, March 24, 2010

Marks v. Koch: last ten days: City brings out big stick: Aspen Transparency Litigation

Just the last ten days of media coverage related to the Aspen Election Review:  breaking news, Aspen brings out the big stick.  Harvie Branscomb
Mar. 13, 2010:  Guest opinion: A blow to election transparency (Guest opinion by Marilyn Marks)

Mar. 13, 2010: Bravo, Marilyn (letter by Harvie Branscomb)

Mar. 17, 2010: Su Lum: Slumming

Get the message, Marilyn? It's time to move on

Mar. 20, 2010: Su nailed it

Mar. 20, 2010: Consider these embarrassing episodes

Mar. 23, 2010: The cover-up continues (letter by Marilyn Marks)

Mar. 23, 2010: A double standard

Mar. 23, 2010:  a defender of democracy

Mar. 23, 2010: Council appoints new election 

Mar. 24, 2010: Su Lum: Slumming

No retractions to last week's column

Mar. 24, 2010:  In its defense: Aspen plans to recoup money from legal foe

City attorney says he will pursue attorneys fees from Marilyn Marks

Mar. 24, 2010:  City seeking attorneys’ fees in IRV election suit

I am inserting a portion  of the Aspen Times blog on the March 24 article (link above). This reads logically in reverse order:

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Wow, dont get the city mad at you, it will Jan Hamilton you faster than you can say Mick Ireland
3/24/2010 9:45:13 AM on aspentimes.com
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harvie wrote:
Shorter versions:

Trust us, but if you don't, remember we have the big stick and you don't.

Ex-candidates are not allowed to be activists.

Innuendo replaces fact in Aspen.

Smear campaigns work.

Forget everything you learned in grade school civics class- its dog eat dog, big dog wins.

Hunker down and see if things get better on their own. Someone else will take care of it.

[I can't accept any one of the above maxims, but they fit facts in Aspen. I'll do what I can to set things straight - to turn a bitter reality into something better- but as anyone reading e-spitballs on this site will recognize, improvement will not come without a lot of participation by a lot of ordinary folks who realize how far off from ideal things are. Right now the power of the word to destroy people politically is stronger than the power of any word to protect those who deserve it. And that power is being used to destroy people who deserve protection.
3/24/2010 9:43:58 AM on aspentimes.com
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harvie wrote:
I agree with PC & vvactivist.

From Aspen to voters:

Trust us, of course we will do no wrong. We tried a completely new election system. We promised transparency and did not fully give it to you- but we gave you enough to give you cause for concern, sorry. If you are concerned, though, don't come to us, we won't respond positively to you. If you still have concerns don't go to the Election Commission. Even if they listen to you, we will make them disappear. Don't go to the court system either, because if you do: 1) we will do everything we can to dismiss the case; 2) we will try to prevent you from getting necessary information; 3) we will see if we can demonize you by making claims about your motives in the briefings; 4) sue you to punish you for trying. It will cost you a bundle to even try to get a day in court, and we will make sure you fail and no one else ever asks again.

Where is the constructive message?
3/24/2010 9:28:55 AM on aspentimes.com
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vvactivist wrote:
It's my understanding that Marilyn will appeal the initial court decision. The appeal hasn't been filed nor has it been heard. So it's a little presumptuous for the Aspen to sue her for legal fees when it's possible that the court could later rule in her favor.

It seems to me that if anyone is abusing the legal process to harass and intimidate someone, it's Aspen doing the dirty deed here. Any judge hearing this legal fee case should either dismiss the case pending the outcome of Marks' appeal, or dismiss the case with prejudice because the legal fee suit is pure harassment.
3/24/2010 8:33:53 AM on aspentimes.com
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Web Feet wrote:
PC: It's only appropriate that the City recoup its expenses once the case was dismissed. I'm sure you, as a private citizen, would have done the same if someone had made you spend money on a lawsuit that was dismissed.

We all disagree with the government, but we don't take it to court at taxpayers (my) expense. The Courts, which have nothing to do with COA, found no merit in Marks' attempt to have the ballots released. There is no freedoms at stake here.

I don't think Marks and her crew should have the opportunity to examine these ballots because they've already said they would be able to tell for which candidates each voter cast his/her ballots. Just read Zimet's comments on other blogs regarding this issue. These few people being able to tell how each of us voted would be a real kick in the butt for democracy.

The new EC should be able to clear up any issues with IRV. Let's go that route now.
3/24/2010 8:21:31 AM on aspentimes.com
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This sends the message that the Constitution is not alive and well in the COA. The freedom of its citizens rich or poor to disagree with government, to hold it accountable, is at stake.
3/24/2010 7:22:10 AM on aspentimes.com

1 comment:

Marilyn Marks said...

this is posting to Web Feet from the AT---reference below.
Web --Glad that you won't object to my asking to recoup fees. The city certainly has the right to ask, but their position is quite irrational. My request for fees will be under CORA, which is state law that calls for the government to reimburse fees when they improperly withhold records. That is to have no incentive for the govt to withhold records. The law does NOT work in the reverse. It does NOT impose this risk on the citizen who might lose a CORA case . The city plans to seek fees from me under a different statute ---a frivolous lawsuit. Given the seriousness of the public policy matter at question, no court would consider this frivolous and without reason. Remember that county, state and federal ballots are NOT locked away, and they ARE subject to audit. Local elections should not be inferior in transparency.

ref: http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20100325/NEWS/100329896/1077&ParentProfile=1058