San Jose Council Candidate Falls Two Signatures Short of Qualifying for 2020 Ballot

It appears that local election officials cost Vinh Do his spot on the 2020 ballot.

Do, a financial advisor who planned to run for soon-to-term out San Jose Councilman Johnny Khamis’ District 10 seat, submitted his paperwork to City Clerk Toni Taber on Nov. 27. The first-time candidate turned it all in the morning before Thanksgiving, nine days before the nominations deadline and with 11 qualifying signatures more than the 50-name benchmark to land on the March ticket.

Taber told Do it would take just a day or two to verify each of the 61 names he submitted to her and which she relayed to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV).

But the Monday after Turkey Day rolled around and Do had yet to hear back. On Tuesday, three days before the deadline, Do says Taber told him she reached out to the ROV “multiple times.” With two days to spare, Do marched down to City Hall and demanded a new signature card—to no avail.

At 12:30pm on the final day to file, Do says he finally heard the bad news: He’d fallen two signatures short of qualifying.

Ironically, his competitors all submitted paperwork well after him but still qualified for the race. Ex-Brigade CEO Matt Mahan filed two days before deadline, businesswoman Helen Wang turned hers in one day ahead of schedule and Bay Area Women’s March President Jenny Higgins Bradanini came through with just hours to spare.

The whole experience has left Do more than a little frustrated about his first foray into politics. “I wanted to make sure there was time,” he says. “That’s why I turned it in early.”

Tough luck, Taber says.

With no other options, Do says he’ll explore the possibility of a write-in campaign.

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  1. The general rule for signature gathering from people who’ve done campaigns requiring thousands of signatures is to get 30% (or is it 1/3?) more than you really need, so 50*1.30 = 65. Also there’s almost never time for a do-over or to add more signatures. Everyone learns a little more with each election.

  2. This is not the first time our famed Toni Taber has been remiss in her duties as our City Clerk. Nor is it the first time she has placed her thumb on the scale of Democracy. We must have clear and transparent elections and as well follow the proper city rules and regulations when it comes to appointees of citizens volunteering for service on commissions. It seems our City Clerk may have been remiss in her duties as well as her statement of “Bad Luck” shows disregard for the will of the people and as well flys in the face of due diligence on the part of a sworn City Official.

    • Hi Bruce,
      You might want to look further into the article – this particular failure was with the Registrar of Voters in verifying the signatures. The City Clerk’s Office does not maintain the voter roles and is not able to complete signature verification. Candidates are provided a nomination card with 30 spots. In order to qualify for the ballot, the candidate must be nominated by at least 20 qualified voters, but no more than 30. If the nomination petition is considered insufficient by the Registrar of Voters after their review, only then can the City Clerk’s office issue the supplemental nomination papers.

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