The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear the city of Aspen’s motion to appeal September’s state Court of Appeals ruling that favored political activist Marilyn Marks’ lawsuit challenging the city’s denial of her request to view ballot images from the 2009 mayoral race. According to the city, the Court of Appeals erred when it held that the Colorado Constitution does not protect the secrecy of ballots. On Nov. 11, the city requested a review of the case by the state Supreme Court. “In elections, there is a functional conflict between two important values: the ability to verify election results and the right of voters to a secret ballot,” the city’s motion states. “All election systems used in the United States since the introduction of the secret ballot in the (late 19th century) have sought to strike a compromise between these two values. In arriving at a compromise, election systems have uniformly given greater weight to secrecy over verifiability.” The motion goes on to say that since 1876, the Colorado Legislature has enacted numerous laws to secure the purity of elections and “guard against the abuses of the elective franchise.”
Marks, who lost the 2009 mayor’s race to incumbent Mick Ireland, has been pressing the ballot-transparency issue since Koch denied her request to examine the ballot images. The three-judge appellate court decision in September overturned 9th District Court Judge James Boyd’s ruling in March 2010 that upheld the city’s decision to withhold the ballot images from public scrutiny.