Fight for election transparency


Partisan views dominate any discussion of the Bush/Gore Florida recount. However, few would suggest that the New York Times, CNN, the Miami Herald and the coalitions of press and academicians should not have been allowed to perform their historic post-election audit and analysis.  

But there are two candidates on our ballot who have declared that Colorado elections should be shielded from such reviews, even in their own current election.

Secretary of State Buescher, the current Democratic SoS candidate, and the state’s top election official, has recently issued opinions to attempt prevent such public and press efforts, proclaiming, as Aspen city officials do, that our region’s voted ballots are “secrets” to be known only by local government officials and hand-picked Republican and Democrat election judges.

Minnesota’s Franken-Coleman challenged ballots were published on Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s website for any citizen to see. All Humboldt County, California’s ballots are published on the Internet after every election, for the citizens to verify. Yet Buescher, like Aspen’s city officials, and BOCC candidate Jack Johnson, claims that press, minor party representatives, and ordinary citizens should be prohibited from verifying election results.

Our local and state laws grant rights to citizens and the press to verify election counts, but Secretary Buescher and Aspen officials have concocted unsupportable legal hurdles to transparency, requiring that citizens garner significant financial resources to fight the government in order to exercise our rights to oversee our own elections.

On Oct. 19, I filed an appeal to address the district court’s anti-transparency ruling in March. Neither Aspen nor Colorado should tolerate less transparent or less verifiable elections than other U.S. cities and states.

Scott Gessler, Buescher’s opponent, knows that elections belong to the people, not the government. I’m casting my vote for Gessler, and reinforcing my determination to fight for transparency that other states allow and encourage. Locally, BOCC candidate Jack Johnson says that “voters should vote and shut up,” when it comes to election transparency. Unless you ascribe to the “vote, trust the count, and shut up” style of heavy-handed control, don’t put Jack back in office. 

Ask Aspen City Council members and election commissioners why they are on the record against such transparency. Why would Dwayne, Derek, Mick, Torre and Steve oppose a Bush/Gore recount audit here? Why are they fighting a costly and bitter legal battle to prevent such transparency and verifiability? Why isn’t the Aspen Daily News fighting for the rights of the press and public, rather than favoring the city’s position?

Marilyn Marks