-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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Friday, June 11, 2010

Aspen's IRV Election Ballot Error Rates

Mike LaBonte has been analyzing the IRV proponents claims that there were -0- "invalid" votes for mayor and only 23 for City Council in Aspen's IRV election. He makes it clear that the error rate was much higher, between errors caught, where the ballot could be re-voted, and errors that the Accu-Vote scanner did not catch. (and in most cases, was not programed to catch.)   Total error rate was approximately 12.4%, (before re-voting)  a very high rate indeed, implying to me that there was considerable confusion  in attempting to rank  the complex matrix of choices. Some intended rankings by voters did not get counted at all, because of the way that the rules were written.  See Mike LaBonte's analysis:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Valid ballot - What does it mean for IRV?

IRV is sometimes criticized as being too complicated for voters to understand. To prove that this is not a problem, proponents like to point out that the percentages of invalid ballots for IRV elections are usually low, usually between 0% and 1%. So what does it mean to have an invalid ballot in an IRV election?

Strictly speaking, the answer lies in the rules for each locality. However, it is common for a valid IRV ballot to be judged effectively by one rule: there must be no overvote in the first ranking of each race. Let's take a look at some valid and invalid IRV ballots:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Branscomb Responds to Critics of His Aspen Times Letter

Harvie's well written letter ( posted below)  received an ill-considered response from an anonymous Aspen blogger,  calling himself "We Deserve Better."  Among other things "We" writes:
"Unlike Harvie Branscomb, who seems to have a real problem with facts and objectivity, the vast majority of Aspen voters understand what's going on with the Marks self- promotion tour.
For the record, Mark's election reform efforts are self-serving, anything but "heroic", selfish and clearly the rantings of a sore loser, in my opinion. Wrapping the Marks election reform

Branscomb Letter to Editor--Amid low blows, Marks takes the high road--June1,2010

Dear Editor:

Tim Cooney throws some nasty punches but is wildly off the mark attempting to knock Marilyn Marks' election reforms. Tim's 90-word cluster bomb was cleverly buried in his letter responding to Elizabeth Milias on The Aspen Club (“Can't trust the know-it-alls,” Friday, May 28, The Aspen Times). (http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20100528/LETTER/100529828/1020&parentprofile=1061)

Marilyn Marks' election reform work is neither “self-interested,” nor born of “vanity.” Equally ill-informed anonymous Aspen Times bloggers have been bleating like annoyed lambs “why doesn't she just let it go?” Some officials claim Marks is still on a “political campaign” and imply that campaigning is bad for the public. Contrary to all of this complaining about criticism — civic-minded citizens will be thanking Marilyn for an extremely tough effort to confront real mistakes made by a few people currently holding power.

Notice of Appeal Filed--Marks vs. Koch

 Notice of appeal in the CORA case to access Aspen's ballot images was filed today:

This litigation seeks to make public the ballot images from the IRV election in May 2009 in the Aspen Municipal election.

Update on DA Investigation--KAJX June 1, 2010

Aspen Public Radio reports on the District Attorney's investigation of Aspen's May election irregularities.


 Marilyn Marks' comment: Although the City does not have a copy of the complaint, Mr. Springer,  claims that the complaint has "no merit," -- presumably without reading it.  He also claims that the there were "no violations of any election laws."  If it is not a violation of election law to leave the keys on/in the ballot box, I can't imagine what would be a violation.  That is one example of many--like failing to use certified software.
Interestingly he claims that it is the "most open, honest, well-run election" in Colorado. Surely many jurisdictions will take issue with that!

Aspen Daily News--Update on DA Investigation June 1,2010

Investigation by DA nears completion

Writer: Curtis Wackerle  Byline:Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

An investigation by the district attorney’s office into the city of Aspen’s May 2009 election that was set off when losing mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks filed a criminal complaint is nearing completion.