Recount in District 16 congressional race poised to happen

All was quiet at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office on Wednesday, as staffers braced for what could be several long days.

The office and its counterpart in San Mateo County will be tasked with recounting votes for the District 16 congressional race.

"It has not happened before. And it’s a very unique event for us," said Michael Borja, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Registrar's Office. 

The reexamination of ballets was brought on by a tie between second-place finishers, Supervisor Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Evan Low.

Each garnered 30,249 votes in the March Primary in a district that stretches between two counties. Both men are set to oppose front-runner and former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who was several thousand votes ahead.

This week, both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties announced two separate requests for a recount.

"I think that there may be some concern about the recount because people, maybe, haven’t seen it before. It’s not a process they’re used to. But the county registrars know how to engage in a recount," said Professor Jessica Levinson, an election law expert at Loyola Marymount University School of Law.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office said staffers will work eight hours a day to scrutinize each ballot.

"The process of the recount is very complicated because the campaign can request to look at vote-by-mail envelopes. They can request to look at other processes that we do," said Borja.


Low, Simitian tie for second spot in congressional District 16 race

The battle for the second spot in the race for California's 16th Congressional District intensified as three candidates, rather than two, could likely appear on the November ballot for the general election.

One of the two people making a recount request is Jonathan Padilla, a former Liccardo campaign staffer. In a response to claims his actions are geared to help his old boss, Padilla wrote on social media, "Why other democrats don’t believe in counting votes and ensuring that the will of the people is transparently reflected confuses me. It’s especially baffling that many of the folks criticizing the recount I’m proposing have themselves advocated for automatic recounts in the past."

"I think it helps whoever might come out ahead, certainly. But in terms that there is a recount, I’m not sure that breaks for either candidate at this point," said Levinson.

The people requesting the recounts must pay for them. They’ll have to bring a partial payment on Monday before counting begins.

The Registrar of Voters said it’ll cost roughly $32,000 per day for a projected 10 days.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on the X platform (formerly Twitter) @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv.