-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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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Millard Zimet Comments to Election Commission on Privacy and Transparency

From: Millard Zimet Date: May 4, 2010 9:54:07 AM MDT

To: rdlnkp

Cc: ward.hauenstein Kathryn.Koch@ci.aspen.co.us, Jim.True@ci.aspen.co.us, John.worcester@ci.aspen.co.us

Subject: Re: May 2009 Election

Bob et al:

Sorry to bother you again, but there's another point I need to make sure you understand in advance of tomorrow's Election Commission meeting, namely: Marilyn Marks does not speak for me.

The reason why I got involved in this election matter back in August was because I became worried that my vote was not secure. That is still my primary focus. I hope I have been able to show you that the votes of many voters are not secure.

Marilyn Marks and Harvie Branscomb are interested in election transparency. They are now concerned that my secret ballot issue will negatively impact their election transparency agenda. I told them (and the City) of this inevitable conflict back in August, but nobody seemed to care at that time.

I trust you understand that secret ballot elections are provided for under the Colorado Constitution. Secret ballot elections are mandatory, but election transparency is not. To the extent the City chooses to accommodate election transparency issues it must make sure that voter privacy comes first.

Any time in the future that the City of Aspen chooses to release any data showing how any voters voted it had better make sure that there is no possible way of tracing that information back to any given voter. We are living in the computer age, and once data is released it is impossible to put that genie back in the bottle. And as I hope I demonstrated in my memo breaking down the data re bullet voting, data can be manipulated and mined to reveal a great deal of information that at first glance one might not think was there.

You might get upset if your bank were to publicly release your account information or social security number. Likewise I'm upset that the City publicly released my voting information. There is so much information readily available about each of us in the public domain (just google yourself and see what comes up), and in the computer age we've got to have heightened awareness that our private data can easily and inadvertently become public.

I really don't want to see this security breach happen again. Hence my belief that IRV must go, because IRV means strings that are publicly released and because IRV means computer scanning that puts raw voting data on someone's hard drive. With IRV there will always exist a higher probability of a security breach as compared to a traditional runoff election.

I am against any public release of any voting data that might compromise voter security, and the Colorado Constitution agrees with me. I urge the Aspen Election Commission and the City of Aspen to follow the Colorado Constitution and protect our community's voting data.

Thanks, MZ

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