Ireland wins mayoral race

By Curtis Wackerle
Published May 6th 2009 in Aspen Daily News
Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland was re-elected Tuesday night in a close race.

Using the instant runoff voting method for the first time in Aspen’s history, after candidates Andrew Kole, who came in last, and L.J. Erspamer, who came in third, had been eliminated, and after their votes had been redistributed to Ireland and second-place finisher Marilyn Marks, Ireland had 1,273 votes and Marks had 1,140.

Ireland received 1,090 first-place votes, or about 43 percent of the 2,544 votes cast. Marks got 844 votes, or 34 percent. Erspamer got 420 first-place votes and Kole got 126 votes. As Kole and Erspamer were dropped from contention, Marks received more of Kole and Erspamer’s second-place votes than Ireland, but it was not enough to put her over the top.

A poll watcher appointed by Marks is attempting to challenge the ballots cast during the last two weeks of walk-in absentee voting on the grounds that the people who cast their absentee ballots in the city clerk’s office were improperly given a different form to sign than the absentee voters who mailed in their ballots. It is not clear if the challenge will be accepted, or if it would change the results of either the mayoral or council election. City Attorney John Worcester said he believes the complaint is confusing two different sections of code. He deemed the complaint invalid.

Marks pointed out that a majority of voters cast their first-place votes for someone other than Ireland.

“I knew there would be a very robust voice for change,” she said, adding that had she started her campaign earlier, she might have made up the difference in votes.

Ireland could not be reached for comment after the final vote tallies were known.