-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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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Election Activist Mike LaBonte Comments on Michigan's Public Access to Ballots

 Laws regarding freedom of access to voted ballots are often fuzzy at best, and seem downright restrictive at worst. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has written a very enlightened opinion responding to a question from Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Cox concludes:

"Voted ballots evidence the electors' preferences, and ultimately support the election or defeat of candidates and the approval or disapproval of ballot proposals in an election. They are the primary source for election results. Therefore, voted ballots are "writings" that record meaningful content and constitute "public records" for purposes of the FOIA."

He then goes on to address common misunderstandings of "secret ballot":

"Importantly, the question you pose does not raise "secrecy of the ballot" concerns because, as described above, a ballot is no longer traceable to the elector who voted it once the stub with its unique serial number is removed and the ballot is placed in the tabulator. Once placed in the tabulator, the voter's ballot and the selections recorded upon it become anonymous."

The opinion is thorough, well written, and a great read for those who wish to better understand the issues of election transparency, even for those outside of Michigan.



This is yet another victory in the fight for election transparency. One state at a time people are realizing that the genius of the Australian ballot system lies in it's ability to simultaneously provide private voting and ballot transparency.

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