In the previous blog posting I annotated the Aspen Times article (http://aspenelectionreview.blogspot.com/2011/11/marks-to-again-view-pitkin-county.html) that seems based upon the contents of the following Pitkin County press release. That article promoted confusions that I felt the needed to be pointed out, such as the use of the misleading terms "anonymity in voting" and "secret ballot".
The Colorado constitution refers to a different combination of terms: "secrecy in voting" and anonymous ballots - and there is a big difference. Looking at the final paragraph of the Pitkin County press release below, one can see that the Pitkin County Clerk does understand this difference and is careful to use the correct terminology.
However, the Pitkin County Clerk also seems to have concluded that transparency and anonymity are essentially in conflict and that both may not be achievable simultaneously. She has also used an oxymoron when she writes "anonymity of their ballots" - since once rendered anonymous, personalization of the ballot does not exist. So I find myself glaring at the irony of the use of the word "their" next to the word "ballots".
Here is a better wording I would prefer to see used in place of what is in the release: "I will work to assure that each Pitkin County individual has the ability to exercise his or her right to vote with confidence in the anonymity of ballots cast in this county and the untraceability of individual votes on those ballots."
The two concepts that are irrevocably in conflict are "secrecy" and "transparency" of ballots.
On the other hand, anonymity and transparency of ballots are perfect compliments to each other. The author of the press release may have failed to realize this. Both the press release and the article contain no reference to the benefits to be obtained from transparency of ballots. I hope the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder will come to understand these important principles and will then somehow help convey her understanding to fellow clerks. I have highlighted the paragraph in the text shown below that was not reflected in the Aspen Times article. I continue to have a reservations about the conclusion that the judicial process produced "partial answers on an ad-hoc basis."
Harvie Branscomb 11/20/2011 - the Pitkin County release follows the break:
[highlighting and font color by Harvie Branscomb 11/20/2011]