Ireland critic withdraws Aspen election recount request
ASPEN – says she has withdrawn her request for a recount of votes in the May 3 mayoral race.
She notified The Aspen Times of her decision in a Tuesday afternoon e-mail. Aspen City Clerk Kathryn Koch confirmed that Marks made the decision shortly after monitoring the post-election audit by the city’s Election Commission.Marks unsuccessfully opposed Ireland in the 2009 election. In the most recent election cycle, she donated money to the campaigns of his opponents, Ruth Kruger and Andrew Kole, as well as the anti-Ireland political committee, Sick of Mick. However, in her statements concerning the request for a recount, she said she was motivated by “voter advocacy” and was not seeking a different outcome in the race.During Monday’s City Council meeting and in a letter to the editor, Marks said she was requesting an “optional recount” and would put up the $1,000 to cover the costs. The recount had been scheduled for Thursday. Any interested party can ask for a recount as long as they pay for it, city officials have said.But the Tuesday audit, a standard procedure following municipal elections, revealed no discrepancies when compared with the unofficial results released last week, Koch said.The city has five voting precincts. Koch said regular and absentee ballots in Precinct 3 were counted first and no problems were discovered. As an extra measure of confirmation, regular ballots in Precinct 4 were counted, and there was no change.Koch, who also is a member of the Election Commission, said an offer was made to Marks – who was sitting on the front row as the election commissioners conducted the audit – to choose another precinct. Marks chose Precinct 2, and again the manual count showed no change, Koch said.Soon after, with three of five precincts having been audited, Marks decided not to press forward with the full recount, which had been scheduled for Thursday starting at 9 a.m.”Based on the accuracy of the preliminary statement of votes cast as demonstrated by the post-election audit, I hereby withdraw my previous request for a recount of the mayor’s race,” she said in an e-mail sent to election commissioners and forwarded to The Aspen Times and others.”I appreciate your willingness to use your discretion as granted by the election rules to expand the audit to test more audit units and increase the confidence level that no runoff could be reasonably possible based on unaudited groups of ballots,” she continued.Also in the e-mail, Marks reiterated a comment she made during Monday’s council meeting, saying she believes Aspen’s 2011 election “had the highest quality standards of any municipal election in Colorado this year.” Marks has pushed for changes in the city’s election codes since the 2009 mayoral race.The results show that Ireland won the race outright with 900 votes or 50.7 percent, avoiding a potential June 7 runoff with second-place finisher Ruth Kruger, a commercial real estate broker. Ireland needed 50 percent plus one vote to be re-elected without going to a runoff.He will be sworn in to his third and final term at the June 13 regular council meeting. He is barred from running for mayor in 2013 because of term limits.Ireland said Tuesday he’s glad the election is over. He praised the efforts of supporters and campaign workers – singling out the work of longtime helper David Bentley – and thanked Kruger and Kole for running in the election.”I’m glad I don’t have to knock another 3,000 doors between now and when there would be a runoff,” he said.Ireland said he felt as though his second term was a continual campaign atmosphere in which he had to deal with numerous attacks by his opponents. “I hope we can just let go and all come together and deal with the issues that we have in Aspen,” he firstname.lastname@example.org
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