SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - In the South Bay, some races are too close to call. In the race for District 7 on the San Jose City Council, just 13 votes separate the two candidates. The Santa Clara County Registrar’s Office is expecting 65 percent voter turnout and the majority of voters are vote by mail. As of Wednesday night, the office said 270,000 ballots still need to be counted.
Of the ballots that still need to be counted, the Registrar’s Office said 225,000 of them are vote by mail ballots and the rest are provisional ballots.
On Election Day, the office saw a surge of conditional voters. More than 600 people waited in long lines. Some of them waited well after the polls closed.
“We didn't anticipate that many people coming in on election day,” said Wendy Hudson of the Santa Clara County Registrar’s Office. “We handed out our last conditional provisional ballot at 10:55 p.m. last night.”
Two candidates who are monitoring the results closely are Tam Nguyen and Maya Esparza, who are running for San Jose City Council, representing south of downtown. As of Wednesday night, Esparza is behind by only 13 votes.
“I’m optimistic,” said Esparza. “I knew it would take quite awhile to count the ballots. I went up nine points after the primary election.”
Back in 2014, Esparza lost to Nguyen by 200 votes. The voter turnout then wasn't as big.
“History does not repeat itself, it rhymes is what Mark Twain said, and so I’m a bit amused and surprised to see the outcome of the District 7 race,” said Diep.
This close race mirroring that of San Jose Councilman Lan Diep who lost to his opponent in a special election in 2015 by 13 votes. Then won in 2016 by 12 votes. It was so close that it triggered an automatic recount which happens when the difference between the two candidates is less than a quarter of a percent or 25 votes.
“I think it's interesting that there are so many narrow races that it just comes to show to our electorate that every vote does count,” said Diep. “If you sat out on election day, you didn't participate. You could have made the difference.”
KTVU reached out to Tam Nguyen who preferred not to make a statement until the counting is done.
The Registrar's Office hopes to have all the votes tabulated by November 21. The votes must be certified by December 6, which is 30 days from Election Day.