After six days of vote counting, San Jose City Councilmember Matt Mahan still leads in the race for mayor of San Jose, with a 3,631-vote margin, but his lead has narrowed for the third straight day, according to unofficial results reported Sunday.
As of 5:04pm Sunday, his tally stood at 1.78 percentage points above Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
The Sunday ballot count in the San Jose mayoral election showed Mahan with 103,241 votes, or 50.89%. Chavez had 98,610 votes, or 49.11%.
Chavez still has an uphill battle to catch Mahan. She would have to increase her winning percentage of the next approximately 75,000 votes to 52.5%, or 5 points above Mahan, in order to wipe out his lead.
Because the county does not even estimate how many city vote-by-mail and provisional ballots are uncounted, it remained difficult Sunday to determine when a candidate could declare victory.
Applying the Nov. 13 countywide estimate of 73% to city of San Jose returns would mean there could be 75,000 votes outstanding; but that number could be off by thousands in either direction because the elections office doesn’t estimate which precincts are the source of the uncounted ballots.
Elections officials report the number of counted votes per candidate each day at approximately 5pm, and estimate the percentage of total ballots counted only on a county-wide basis, with no geographic breakdown. The office reported that 436,207 ballots were counted countywide as of Nov. 14, and estimated this represented 73% of the ballots expected.
The elections office said that beginning Nov. 14, the reports would come only every other day.
Based on Sunday evening estimates from the Registrar of Voters, approximately 161,000 ballots remain to be counted countywide, which means a degree of uncertainty remains for a number of races – especially the marquee matchup for mayor of the nation’s 10th largest city.
In the years since mail-in ballots became the predominant form of voting locally, the results from precinct votes have been accurate predictors of eventual outcomes.