MNW bond fails on a tie vote

60 percent majority was needed for bond issue to pass

-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Steve Markert, of Clare, casts his ballot in the special school election Tuesday. The school is asking for approval for $8.8 million to grow the school. About 41 people had voted by 2:45 p.m.

MANSON — Voters rejected a proposed $8.8 million bond measure for the Manson Northwest Webster School District in a literal tie vote.

The measure failed with 375 yes votes and 375 no votes Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

To pass, the measure needed a 60 percent yes vote.

That’s very rare, said Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner, referring to the tie.

She’s never seen it happen before.

“No, that was so bizarre,” she said.

The school board had hoped to do building renovations, including a new addition to the junior/senior high school in Manson, and new flooring and bleachers for the elementary school in Barnum.

Superintendent Justin Daggett said he had no comment on the vote Tuesday night. He offered to share his thoughts in the morning.

One MNW district resident who has spoken out against the bond measure was Joe Condon, of Barnum.

“I’m glad people realized what was taking place and voted the right way,” Condon said Tuesday night.

Asked why this was the right way to vote, Condon said, “Because it wasn’t properly put into place, the vote, by the board. … The presentation of it was wrong.”

He did not elaborate further.

A satellite polling place, used for early voting, was held at the Barnum school from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 22, during an open house, Pliner said. She said her office did receive a complaint about it, but Pliner said she had double checked that everything there was done according to Iowa law.

She had confirmed with the Iowa Secretary of State that the polling place was allowed, and had workers on site to ensure there was no electioneering going on.

No one had signs or encouraged people to vote a certain way, she said.

“Everything was above board,” Pliner said.

Early voting at satellite polling locations is routinely used in Iowa elections. Voters could also turn in their ballots by mail, as usual, before the day of the election.

The final, official vote may not be a dead heat, Pliner said. There are a few provisional ballots which may be eligible to be counted, and two or three absentee ballots are still out which may arrive.

However, this won’t be enough to reach the 60 percent threshold, she said.