Marks prevails (again) in Aspen ballot case
July 17, 2012
ASPEN – The Colorado Supreme Court has rejected the city of Aspen’s petition for a rehearing in the ballot case initiated by former mayoral candidate Marilyn Marks.
The court already had reversed its decision to hear the case of Marks vs. City Clerk Kathryn Koch, allowing a Court of Appeals decision in Marks’ favor to stand. The city then filed a petition to, in essence, ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to take up the case; the high court declined.
“I will be more comfortable when I know (city officials) are willing to put the controversy behind us,” Marks said Monday. “Let’s sit down and talk about reasonable attorney fees and set it up so the public and press can sit down and look at the 2009 ballots.”
Still at issue is the matter of Marks’ attorney fees, which she said totaled $275,000 before the city asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to take up the case. City Attorney Jim True previously suggested the city should not owe Marks for legal fees she incurred at the District Court level, where the city prevailed. Marks disagrees.
“You either win it all or you lose it all – it’s not parsed out – and they know that,” she said.
“We still have the issue of attorney fees and what a reasonable amount of attorney fees are,” True said Monday. “I don’t know if that will be a fight or not.”
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The city clerk and Election Commission will establish a procedure for viewing the ballots from the city’s 2009 municipal election, True said. It remains to be determined, though, whether Marks will be provided the images of the ballots, which she requested in her lawsuit and which would occur through an order from District Court, or the actual ballots, which the state Legislature recently established are open to public inspection through an open-records request.
Marks said True has indicated it might be easier, from a practical standpoint, to examine the ballots themselves, but she said she would like to see both the images and the ballots to verify the results of instant-runoff voting.
The images were generated in the city’s one and only stab at using instant-runoff voting. They were quickly displayed on screens at City Hall as consultants tallied the election results and then conducted a computerized instant runoff. Voters ranked candidates in order of preference on the ballot for City Council and mayor, allowing both the initial election and the runoff to take place on the same night.
Marks lost to Mick Ireland in the mayoral race, but she has maintained she has no interest in overturning the results of the election.
“If I’d wanted a recount, I’d have asked for one,” she said.