Update, Thursday 9:05 a.m.
With 98 percent of the ballots counted, here's how the race stands:
- Tim Orozco 2,230 votes 22.03%
- Manh Nguyen 1,940 votes 19.16%
- Lan Diep 1,912 votes 18.89%
The top two vote-getters will move on to a June 23 runoff. The registrar's office said the outcome of the race should be known by Friday.
Update, Wednesday 11:50 a.m.
The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office said there will be a June 23 runoff between the top two vote-getters in a special election for a District 4 City Council seat in San Jose.
With 86 percent of the vote in, Tim Orozco is now leading the race by 264 votes, followed by Manh Nguyen and Lan Diep, who are just seven votes apart. There are still 1,580 ballots left to count, mostly mail-in votes.
The winner of the race, who will represent north San Jose, will replace Kansen Chu and could shift the balance of power in City Hall.
Philip Chantri, a spokesman for the registrar’s office, said the outcome should be known by Friday. There is a new state law allowing for receipt and counting of ballots postmarked by election day as long as they are received and counted at the registrar’s office three days later.
The registrar's office said it expects 25 percent voter turnout after all the ballots are counted.
Officials will certify the race on April 15.
Update, Wednesday morning: With 86 percent of ballots counted, Tim Orozco is leading the pack of 10 District 4 City Council candidates, with just over 22 percent of the vote. (See the latest results here.) He appears headed for a runoff with either Manh Nguyen or Lan Diep, who trails Nguyen by just seven votes. Each currently stands at almost 19 percent.
The next update of vote totals for the open seat is due at 5 p.m.
The special election to replace Kansen Chu could tip the balance of power one way or the other on important issues like pension reform. As the San Jose Mercury News reports this morning, Orozco is supported by labor groups and Nguyen and Diep by the Chamber of Commerce.
San Jose Inside reports: "If elected, Orozco would become the second LGBT person to serve on the council. Ken Yeager won a seat in 2000, but resigned in the middle of his second term after winning a seat on the county's Board of Supervisors in 2006."
The outcome of a low-key San Jose City Council special election today could have a powerful impact inside City Hall, changing the balance of power over issues like pension reform and critical local services.
"Theoretically, this could be a swing vote on the San Jose City Council," said Terry Christensen, political science professor emeritus at San Jose State University.
The election to replace Kansen Chu will take place in District 4, in north San Jose near Santa Clara, Milpitas and the San Francisco Bay. Chu was elected to the state Assembly in November.
There are 10 candidates in the City Council race, and unless one of them receives more than half the vote, there will be a runoff between the top two candidates June 23.
The candidates are: Tim Orozco, Lan Diep, Manh Nguyen, Bob Dhillon, Rudy Nasol, Khoa Nguyen, Alex Torres, Johnny Lee, Allen Chiu and Thelma Boac.
Christensen said there's a division currently between council members who are more fiscally conservative about pension reform and those who are moderate to liberal on the issue.
"Mayor Sam Liccardo is working well with both sides at the moment," he said. "It was thought there would be a more visible division by now. But this person could be a swing vote if the division emerges again in a significant way."
Liccardo was elected in November.
Christensen said a shift in the balance of power could also affect other budget issues related to city services.
"There are council members who think the city should cut back to core services like police, fire, parks and libraries. Then there are others who think city services should be broader, like afterschool programs, truancy abatement, and gang abatement."
About 100,000 residents live in District 4. Voter turnout is expected to be low.