Judge dismisses Marks’ lawsuit over Aspen election | AspenTimes.com

Judge dismisses Marks’ lawsuit over Aspen election

Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesAspen City Clerk Kathryn Koch tallies up votes the old-fashioned way during the May election. A lawsuit seeking electronic images of the ballots cast in May, during the city's first use of Instant Runoff Voting, has been dismissed.

ASPEN – A judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Aspen resident Marilyn Marks against City Clerk Kathryn Koch, which attempted to force Koch into releasing ballot images from last May’s city election.

Judge James Boyd of the Ninth Judicial District Court dismissed the case, citing the Colorado state constitution, which requires the city clerk to keep ballots secret.

The city’s central argument in the legal wrangling that has occurred since last summer has been that it’s against state law to release ballot images.

“We believe it was appropriate to rule in this manner,” said Jim True, the city’s special counsel.

Shortly after the May 5 election, Marks filed a Colorado Open Record Act request for 2,544 digital ballot images cast by Aspen voters so they could be checked against how the scanning machines interpreted them as part of an independent review to be conducted by an outside group.

That request was denied by the city, which prompted Marks to file a lawsuit in October.

The city used Instant Runoff Voting for the first time in May, which produced the digital images.

Marks said she expected the case would end up in appellate court because of the likelihood of either side appealing any decision.

“We have always anticipated that the appellate court would be hearing the facts of this case,” she said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to that opportunity where statewide precedent on public records inspection and election oversight will be set.”

See Thursday’s Aspen Times for more on the latest development in the lawsuit.


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