Cortese clings to slim hopes in San Jose mayor race

San Jose mayor candidate Dave Cortese Friday showed no signs of conceding Tuesday’s election despite new vote tallies from absentee ballots showing him still trailing rival Sam Liccardo by more than two percent.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters revised vote totals Friday after counting about 30,000 absentee votes across the county, which included around 15,000 from within the San Jose city limits.

As of 5 p.m., Liccardo had 72,974 votes, or 51.29 percent, to 69,301 ballots, equal to 48.71 percent, cast for Cortese. The total votes counted in the mayor’s race was 142,275, compared to just over 127,000 tallied as of Thursday, according to the registrar’s website.

Registrar Shannon Bushey said there were still 45,000 to 75,000 absentee, or mail-in, ballots left to count from voters across the county, after voters dropped off a record 150,000 ballots at precincts on Election Day:

“That was the highest we recorded in one day.”

Liccardo, outgoing member of the San Jose City Council representing District 3, on Wednesday declared himself the winner, after leading by two points, 51 to 49 percent, as of that morning.

Cortese, a member of the county Board of Supervisors, did not announce he was conceding after the new vote total this afternoon and received kudos for it from supporters on his campaign’s Facebook page:

David and Ginnie Guthrie wrote:

“Thank you Dave for doing everything you can to make San Jose a better, safer place to live. … Thank you for not conceding. Every vote should be counted. We still have hope!”

The final tally of votes in all of Santa Clara County probably will not be completed until Sunday, Bushey said. County employees have to verify each voter’s signature on each envelope containing an absentee vote before opening the envelope and counting the ballot, slowing the count, Bushey said.

Even with the most modern of vote-counting technologies, mail-in ballots legally turned in by voters at precincts have to be verified by hand, she said. The trend toward last minute absentee balloting is increasing and will cause similar delays in vote counting during future elections, she said.