DA: No Aspen election violations

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The District Attorney’s Office will not pursue criminal charges related to alleged election law violations stemming from Aspen’s May 2009 city election.

The 11-page decision, delivered late Friday afternoon by 9th Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson, essentially shoots down all 25 claims put forth in an affadavit filed with the DA’s office in late April by Marilyn Marks. Marks is also one of several citizens who filed complaints with the city’s Election Commission regarding the May 2009 election, Aspen’s first using instant runoff voting, or IRV.

In his decision, Beeson outlines – point-by-point – his office’s reason for denying the claims, which range from “failure to meet requirements of voting systems” to “mathematical anomalies present in Aspen’s system violate state law” and “violation of due process/retalitation.”

“It was a lenthgy process. State statute requires we do a throrough investigation, and we did, as we do for every case brought before us,” Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey said Friday night. “And in this case, we determined that no crime was committed.

“You have to remember, we investigate crimes; crimes that are punishable with fines and jail time. There has been no crime here.”

For her part, Marks said the decision not to pursue criminal charges is acceptable. However, she still believes an injustice has taken place.

“This is close to the result that I had hoped and communicated from the beginning. I did not want to see the criminal prosecution of any official, but wanted to see the importance of this discussion exposed to the community from an authoritative source,” Marks wrote in a e-mail to The Aspen Times on Friday night. “This opinion of the DA is a valuable message to the Aspen community, and the Colorado communities at large to address their election irregularities and deficiencies in an open and transparent manner.”

Marks stressed that the decision rendered by Beeson was dense and that a thoughtful legal anaylsis could take weeks. She did not comment on what her next steps might be in regard to the complaint; the complaint filed with the city’s Election Commission has not yet been discussed.

Marks was a candidate for mayor in the 2009 election, losing to Mick Ireland. She had said she is not interested in overturning the results of the election.

Hershey is a former Aspen city councilman.