A manual ballot recount changed the outcome in one of the smallest and oldest school districts in the South Bay. Nida Moragas Spetter went from fourth to third place in the four-candidate Orchard School District race.
Spetter—a cafeteria worker and longtime Parent Teacher Association volunteer at the one-school, 900-student district in north San Jose—initially finished just six votes behind Joseph Zanone, a narrow enough margin to trigger a second tally.
Election officials at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters found out in the redux that a batch of 36 ballots was left out of the original results “due to human error,” according to a news release announcing the results.
“It’s been like a rollercoaster,” Spetter, who now holds a two-vote lead over Zanone, said in a phone call Friday. “But honestly, Joe is a very good candidate and I campaigned with him. So, either way the kids will be the winner here.”
With Spetter, the five-member Orchard school board has two new trustees. First-time candidate Jeff Tang was the top vote-getter in the race, garnering nearly 29 percent of the 3,554 ballots cast. Incumbent Stephanie Hill came in second with 1,420 votes.
Spetter said she looks forward to collaborating with her new colleagues on some of the toughest issues facing the 153-year-old school district, such as declining enrollment and the city’s plans to run a freeway overpass through the K-8 campus.
The hand tally of the Orchard district results was one of five, but the outcome remained the same for the other races for Cupertino City Council, the Oak Grove and Luther Burbank school boards and a school bond Measure HH.
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