Corrections to ‘Unlocking IRV’
Editor’s Note: The Aspen Times has received a number of complaints from the city of Aspen and others about the Oct. 3 article about instant runoff voting, titled “Unlocking IRV,” in the Aspen Times Weekly. Some of these complaints arose from factual errors, while others concerned a perceived bias in the story. Below is a list of clarifications and corrections.
• The Colorado Supreme Court never ruled that election ballots are subject to the Colorado Open Records Act.
• City attorneys didn’t issue sworn court statements that all ballots were shown during the May 2009 election. In a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by Marilyn Marks, the city quoted her suit, which said all ballots were shown, in support of the motion.
• The city of Aspen’s Election Commission never agreed with Marks’ allegations in a formal way. That statement was based partially on interviews with former commissioner Elizabeth Milias. The Aspen Times did not interview the Commission’s other two members.
• The article mischaracterized which election documents were released by the city of Aspen. The city released e-mails, Accuvote records, the voter log, ballot strings and mock ballots, but did not release actual ballots.
• The city conducted a post-election review on May 7, 2009, that found no tabulation errors.
• The story correctly stated that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office had not certified the True Ballot vote-counting technology described by the story. There is no legal requirement for the city to obtain such a certification, however.
• The story said election analysts were able to change the computer interpretation of ballots to reflect voter intent. That would require obtaining permission from the Election Commission.
• The online version of the story said the True Ballot computers were making noises that could indicate they were “rejecting ballots.” The city denies that ballots were rejected, and the noises could have signified a number of types of errors.
• City attorney John Worcester and city clerk Kathryn Koch were original members of the IRV task force. The story stated otherwise.
• A caption said the city charter requires a majority of all ballots cast to seat an official. The proper term is “votes cast.”
• City attorneys disagree with a statement that the May 2009 election was essentially privatized.
• The story said Rob Richie of FairVote disagreed with the method chosen to conduct the City Council race. Richie says he approved of the method, once it was changed to address his concerns.
• Richie says he and the city of Aspen had realized well before 2008 that tabulating a two-seat race with IRV could be problematic, and that he actually suggested possible solutions to city officials.
• Pitkin County Clerk Janice Vos Caudill says she was not part of the original IRV task force vote.
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