International Observer from Azerbaijan
By Staci McBrayer
Gilpin County’s election process was observed on an international level this year. Azerbaijani native Tural Ahmad is an intern with the U.S. Department of State. His month long travels as part of a fellowship brought him to Gilpin County for one day to learn about the county’s election process. He spent time observing the county’s election judges and the system they used to process the mail ballots. Accompanying Ahmad were two representatives from the Secretary of State’s Office Joel Albin and Jeff Mustin.
Voting in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is located just west of the Caspian Sea and North of Iran. A small country of a little over 9 million people, Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 when the Russian Army invaded the capital of Baku. It remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991 when the communist nation collapsed at the end of the cold war. Essentially, the independent country is only 22 years old.
Ahmad said he specifically wanted to observe a small county’s ballot process. That’s where Gilpin County came in – it doesn’t get much smaller than this in Colorado. It was Gilpin County’s excellent record with the Secretary of State that opened the door to having Ahmad visit here instead of another county. Gilpin County Clerk & Recorder Colleen Stewart and her office have maintained an exceptionally high level of both security and anonymity for voters in the county that has been observed on a state, and now international level.
Ahmad wants to take the knowledge and observations he gained through his experience here in the U.S. back to his country. The use of voter registration databases is non-existent in Azerbaijan, as every vote is cast and counted by hand. Ahmad seeks to develop initiatives for election training in Azerbaijan that would incorporate the techniques he observed here.
New Changes in Voting in Colorado
This past April, House Bill 13-1303 was signed into law and will result in changes in the voting process in Gilpin County. Unlike previous years, individuals can register to vote right up through the November 5th election. New voters who have lived in Gilpin County for at least 22 days prior to the election can register thru Election Day on November 5th at the Voter Service and Polling Center.
The Voter Service and Polling Center is located in the Old Courthouse at 203 Eureka Street, Central City. This will be the only place county residents can vote in person. Voters may drop off mail ballots at this location or can surrender their mail ballot and vote in person either electronically or by paper. The hours of operation for the Voter Service and Polling Center are:
- October 28th – November 4th, 2013 Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- November 2nd, 2013 Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Mail Ballots can be returned to the Gilpin County Clerk and Recorder, Colleen Stewart, P.O. Box 429, Central City, Co 80427. Ballots must be received by the Clerk and Recorder’s Office by 7:00 pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 5th, in order to be counted. Any questions can be directed to the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 303-582-5321 or via email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.