-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.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
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.
Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey, who has been looking into Marks’ allegations that certain aspects of the conduct of the election violated state law, said Friday he expects to complete his work either the end of this week or next week. He will then present his findings to District Attorney Martin Beeson, who will ultimately decide if the city should be prosecuted.
Marks’ complaint was filed at the end of April. While the affidavit hasn’t been made public, Marks has said her complaint contains allegations that the city broke the law by not properly testing election software and by leaving a key in a lock in a ballot box that unlocked the override panel. The complaint also raises a number of issues with True Ballot, a firm the city hired to tabulate the election, which was the first Aspen election using instant runoff voting.
The city in December hired Jeffrey Springer, a Denver attorney whose practice areas include criminal law and white collar criminal defense. Springer bills out at $500 an hour, and through April the city has paid him more than $1,700. May’s totals were not available, but Springer has been working on the criminal case throughout the month. He characterized Marks’ allegations as having no merit.
Hershey noted that the areas of the law that he is reviewing are complex and that local, state and federal election laws come into play.
Marks said she was surprised at the speed with which Hershey’s investigation is wrapping up.
Marks is also suing the city over its position that images of the actual ballots cast in the election are not public records. Marks is seeking the ballot scans in order to conduct an audit of how the election was tabulated. But Judge James Boyd dismissed Marks’ suit in March, agreeing with the city that releasing the ballots would violate the law. Marks said she will be filing a notice this week that she will appeal Boyd’s decision.
When Boyd dismissed Marks’ suit, the city filed a motion seeking to recoup $70,000 worth of attorney’s fees from Marks. That motion is pending as the suit works its way through the appeals court.
Source URL: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/140840
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