Ballot appeal a mistake |

Ballot appeal a mistake

Editor’s note: The following letter was written to members of the Aspen City Council.

Dear Editor:

The members of Colorado Union of Taxpayers have been watching with dismay Aspen’s escalating battle against election transparency.

We were disappointed enough when you denied public access to Aspen election ballots after your promises before the 2009 election that all citizens could see the ballots and “count them for themselves.” The Court of Appeals decision affirmed what we have always known – ballots, the most fundamental tool of our democracy, are of course open public records. Secretary of State Scott Gessler has reconfirmed to election officials across the state that they should abide by the court’s decision. We are doubly dismayed to hear that the council has approved the appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.

At CUT we oppose all wasteful spending, such as the potential misuse of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars Aspen may spend to attempt to reverse the Court of Appeals ruling. CUT also has a direct, ongoing interest in election transparency and verifiability, given the nature of the many tax measures on local and state ballots every year. Without the clear ability for citizens to verify and authenticate their elections, a basic measure of democracy is lost.

We understand that beginning in May 2011, Aspen’s ballots are completely anonymous and untraceable to the voter. Why then is Aspen committing its taxpayers’ public funds to fight a traceability problem that Aspen has already solved?

Please reconsider your decision to appeal the Marks v. Koch case. Please allow public comment in a properly noticed meeting before you make a final determination on this matter. Members or representatives of CUT may choose to come before you to make public comment on this matter, and need sufficient notice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Marty Neilson

president and ratings chairman, Colorado Union of Taxpayers