Edesa Bitbadal says she hasn’t decided if she will ask for a recount of the primary results for San Jose’s District 10 City Council seat. However, Bitbadal, a San Jose planning commissioner, did say several community leaders in Almaden have contacted her to do so and she will weigh her options this weekend. The deadline is Tuesday.
The top three candidates in District 10 finished within 91 votes of each other, making it the closest contest locally in last month’s election. Johnny Khamis came in first with 3,483 votes (19.71 percent), just one more vote than runner-up Robert Braunstein. The two are currently slated to face off in November.
Bitbadal came in third with 3,392 votes (19.19 percent), which sparked speculation that the she might challenge the results.
“I haven’t made a decision, but interestingly enough I’m being asked by neighborhood leaders to do that,” Bitbadal says. “It’s heartwarming that people still feel that way.”
The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters certified the election Tuesday, which means anyone willing to challenge the totals through a recount, whether it be Bitbadal or any other registered voter, has until this coming Tuesday to file a request.
City Clerk Dennis Hawkins sent an email to Mayor Chuck Reed and the City Council this week saying that after consulting with the city attorney’s office he found no reason for the city to ask for a recount.
“To my knowledge, there have not been any allegations or evidence of irregularities in the conduct of the election (such as undelivered vote by mail ballots; precincts not opening on time or closing early; lack of ballots in precincts, etc.) or any suggestion of machine malfunctions in the vote counting process,” Hawkins wrote.
He added that a “recount may be requested by others. The cost range for a recount, depending on the type of recount, ranges from approximately $5,700 to $33,250.”
There are several ways for a recount to be conducted, with the most expensive process requiring a hand count.
David Vossbrink, the city’s communication’s director, said Bitbadal has a tough decision on her hands.
“I don’t envy the kind of choice that needs to be made,” he said. “As we’ve seen in Florida, there’s no such thing as a precise count.” Vossbrink was referencing the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Bitbadal was noncommittal about requesting a recount during an interview Thursday afternoon, but she did say she spent all of her campaign funds.