In an effort to mitigate anticipated legal fees as a result of Aspen resident Marilyn Marks’ involvement in the January 15, 2013 special municipal election, Council unanimously approved staff recommendation to change from an electronic count of the ballots to a hand count.
The decision came January 8 after council adjourned from executive session and re-opened the public meeting. This decision in no way reflects the confidence the City has with the election plan previously laid out, including the electronic counting of ballots. Marks has sued numerous counties and municipalities in Colorado, including Chaffee County, costing the taxpayers of those communities thousands of dollars.
Audrey Gilpin, Designated Election Official, said the city has followed every rule and regulation required of a municipal election. A hand count for a community the size of Salida will be an arduous task for staff and election judges and will add about $2,000 to election costs. Hand counting the ballots is a way to alleviate one of Marks’ concerns and mitigate potential legal fees.
Depending on the number of ballots received, the hand counting of ballots may take six or seven days. Counting must be completed within seven days of the election. Due to the length of time necessary to complete a hand count, counting will begin Friday, January 11. The Secretary of State has approved the amendment to the election plan.