By Sandy Barnes
International visitors had an opportunity to learn about the special library district election during a visit to Berthoud on Monday, Nov. 3.
The group of women was participating in an Election Exchange Program offered through the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.
Speaking through an interpreter, Berthoud Community Library District Director Sara Wright explained the process that would provide funding to operate the library.
The first step in holding the election was to decide whether to have a separate ballot or make the question on the mill levy for the library district a part of the Larimer County ballot, said Wright. “Because this year’s ballot is so long, we decided to go independently,” she said.
While the official Election Day for Question 5A is Nov. 4, Wright said voters have had the opportunity to bring their ballots into the library since receiving them in the mail last month.
One of the women in the group expressed surprise that Wright is in charge of the library election because of her role as director. “Should you have a committee who oversees this?” she asked.
Wright replied that although she does count votes, other people double check the results. The three volunteers who are helping with the library district election have taken oaths and signed affidavits, she added.
She further explained that a poll book containing the names of every person who was sent a ballot packet is kept as a point of reference. All the ballots received and counted have to match the information in the poll book, she said. On Nov. 4 when the votes are being tallied, the people counting cannot leave until the numbers match, she said.
“I am accountable,” said Wright. “If there is a fraud, I go to jail.”
Wright explained that the 2.4 mill levy is necessary to enable the library to be open more hours than it is now and to be able to purchase more books.
“One thing we’re really pleased with is that we’ve gotten two-thirds of the ballots back,” she said. Approximately 6,000 ballots were mailed out in October.
During the Middle Eastern women’s visit to the United States, they studied the county’s election process while attending political rallies and meeting with candidates, campaign managers and organizers.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative is coordinated with the Meridian International Center and American University. Participants from Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen are included in this trip to the United States.