Ballot machine jams in Cedar Rapids: High turnout or humidity? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ballot machine jams in Cedar Rapids: High turnout or humidity?

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The high schools in Cedar Rapids served as vote centers for the school district special election Tuesday.

So many people showed up, ballot boxes jammed.

"The primary reason we believe is just the number of ballots that we going through these machines," said Tim Box, deputy commissioner of elections.

The jams only happened at two of the schools, Washington and Jefferson High Schools, the two where doors had been open, allowing humidity to get in and possibly cause the jams.

"You could tell they were affected by humidity," said Box. "They were feeling a little damp and curly, which we think they were sticking on to this diverter tray and that would also increase the probability that ballots would not slide down where they should and jam up."

The ballots would go in just fine. The problem was below.

In theory, ballots stack nicely at the bottom. But Tuesday, the ballots were getting stuck higher up in the machine.

Now, a re-count will happen because of the jams, and the "yes" votes are just 32 votes ahead.

At stake: an increase in property taxes to pay for maintenance at schools.

The recount is scheduled for Thursday and the official canvass of votes is Monday. 

If approved, as unofficial results show, the Cedar Rapids Community School District's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy will go up to $1.34 from the current rate of $0.67. That will cost a homeowner more money in property taxes, about $37 a year for someone whose home has an assessed value of $100,000.

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