Sunnyvale engineer wins District 3 City Council seat by one vote

A Sunnyvale engineer running for office for the first time made history last month when he won his city council race by one vote. This is the first time this has happened in Sunnyvale and after a mandatory recount, Santa Clara County certified the election last week.  

Not only did he win the race by one vote, but he’s also the first person to represent District 3 in Sunnyvale, which is newly formed. He says he didn’t know what to expect during the campaign but one thing he’s learned is that every vote counts.  

"Every election is unpredictable. Everybody knows, even a seasoned politician knows about this," said Murali Srinivasan, Sunnyvale City Councilman-elect for District 3.   

Murali Srinivasan has lived in Sunnyvale for 25 years, served four years on the city’s Sustainability Commission and volunteered in his neighborhood. When District 3 was formed in 2020, he decided it was time to take another step as a community leader.   

"I’ve been an engineer throughout my life. For me, everything was a learning experience. I was learning as I am flying, as such. So, everything was new. I didn’t know if it would be tough or easy. I was doing what I felt was necessary to run a successful campaign," said Srinivasan.    

After winning the race by one vote against his opponent Justin Wang, Santa Clara County’s Registrar of Voters automatically conducted a recount. The results were the same and on December 8th, Srinivasan was certified as the winner. Sunnyvale’s City Clerk told KTVU what happens if there’s ever a tie in the vote count: 

"In the event of a tied election, Sunnyvale determines the candidate "by lot." This means the candidates’ names would be put into a container and one name would be drawn to determine the winner." - David Carnahan, Sunnyvale City Clerk 

"For 30 days, my opponent was leading for 27 days. I lead only day, one day we tied, and then the last day I lead by one vote," said Srinivasan.   

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Srinivasan came to the United States in 1984 and earned master's degrees from Virginia Tech and Stanford. He’s also the first person of Indian descent to serve on Sunnyvale’s City Council. His community service earned him the Distinguished Resident Award just last year.  

"Absolutely. Every vote counts. Everybody should participate in elections because you never know." 

Srinivasan also secured endorsements from Mercury News and County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. He’ll serve on the council for four years and will be sworn in on January 3, 2023.