We have a problem | AspenTimes.com

We have a problem

Dear Editor:

Is The Aspen Times in violation of the court’s order that ballot images be locked away as city “secrets?” I found this ballot image from the May election in your online version – https://www.aspentimes.com/article/20100311/NEWS/100319976.

Are there additional “private” pictures of this “secret” ballot image in the Times’ files, or still in your reporters’ cameras, which apparently took illicit pictures on election night? The city and the court decreed that all ballot images must be secured, undisturbed, in a ballot box which cannot be unlocked. And the court ordered that images not be destroyed while the Marks case is ongoing.

Mr. Carroll, this appears to be a legal dilemma for you. The Times is not supposed to have those “secret” images, but the ballot box cannot be opened to allow you to deposit your contraband digital photographs – yet they cannot be destroyed. In fact, the court says the pictures you took in City Hall are “secret.” But they are on your website. And what about the ballot images your reporter deleted from her camera after the election? Did that violate the city’s legal theory that images cannot be destroyed until six months after the election?

GrassRoots TV has a real problem – they have hundreds of “secret” images in video on their website, http://www.grassrootstv.org/Show.aspx?ShowID=8097. What about the various copies that were ripped and burned from their site by citizens? Are those citizens now outlaws? Can Pandora’s ballot box of pictures be slammed shut? Will there be a day of amnesty when the press and guilty citizens can turn in their images of images to Clerk Koch without penalty? Will Marks be arrested if she refuses to turn in her pictures of these ballot images?

Most interesting of all – watch what the judge does with copies of images in the court’s possession – for those are public records. The city filed several images as exhibits as public records which they now say are “secret.” I suspect you will agree that the city’s logic is wacky.

Why have you been silent regarding the missing original image files retained by Maryland-based election contractor TrueBallot? Although the court says all images must be in the ballot box original image files apparently left town on May 6 with TrueBallot. The city was given a copy on a CD – where are the originals now? Are there other copies? TrueBallot claimed having a disk marked “Aspen image files” in late January. When subpoenaed in March, TBI, the city’s agent, claimed to have no image files. Suspicious, wouldn’t you say?

Is this ballot image shuffle a cartoon? The judge, newspapers, Internet, GrassRoots and citizens have pictures of ballots the judge says must be preserved and locked in old ballot boxes as “secret.” The box cannot be unlocked to deposit the “secrets.” Yet the city’s agent, original files in hand for months – but when their deposition ordered, the files disappeared.

Surely your newspaper must take notice!!

Andy Lang

Jackson, Miss.

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