Recount begins for District 16 congressional race

A historic recount is underway in Silicon Valley in the race to replace Congresswoman Anna Eshoo in District 16.

The primary election resulted in a tie for second place. As of now, Assemblymember Evan Low and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian are set to join former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in the general election.

But this recount could change that.

The process will involve a machine recount, as well as a review of additional materials like provisional ballots or vote-by-mail envelopes.
When it's all said and done, if the outcome changes, then only two candidates will advance.

Inside the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office, there was a flurry of activity.

"We have a bunch of our staff, as you can see in the background, working hard

retrieving all the ballots and there are a lot of precincts to retrieve," said Michael Borja, with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

The ballot recount is happening in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County too.

"This is a machine recount so that means it will go relatively quick. But before we do that, we have to do what's called a logic and accuracy test on our voting system," said Jim Irizarry, Assistant Chief Elections Officer for San Mateo County.

As it stands, three candidates are headed to the general election: Sam Liccardo, who garnered the most votes, then Evan Low and Joe Simitian who tied for second.

Both of them are now at risk of losing their spot in November if even one additional vote is found.

"The front-runner, Sam Liccardo who got the most votes in the primary does now actually have the stronger incentive if he would prefer to be in a two-person race than a three-person race," said Melinda Jackson, a professor of political science at San Jose State University.

The recount is costly. One of the residents who requested the recount is 
one-time Liccardo staffer, Jonathan Padilla. Padilla said on the social media platform X he finds criticism of the recount "baffling."

"Of course, most of us aren't willing to pony up $80,000. I mean I love democracy, but I don't have that kind of cash lying around," said Jackson.

Evan Low said on X, "I have not called for a recount & I oppose one." He adds, "We still don't know who is paying for it."

Joe Simitian released a statement saying, "It is yet another hill to climb, but I’m reassured by our democratic process which is prepared for these unlikely scenarios (A tie! A recount!)."

Sam Liccardo's camp said, "Every vote should be counted, and that's why recounts are part of the state's electoral process to ensure accuracy."

"Transparency is so critical for the integrity of elections. So we're excited about it because we get an opportunity to showcase what we do here," said Irizarry.

After all of Monday's preparations, the actual machine recount will likely start in the next 24 to 48 hours and will last about a week.