The key lesson here is that every vote counts, says the Indian American engineer
Indian American engineer Murali Srinivasan made history winning the race for the open District 3 Sunnyvale City Council seat in Santa Clara County, California by the slimmest of margins: a single vote.
Srinivasan received 2,813 out of 5,625 votes, while opponent Justin Wang received 2,812 votes, according to election results from the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.
“Thank God there are no fraction votes,” Srinivasan told San José Spotlight last week.
Read: Election 2022: Desi winners and losers in US House races (November 11, 2022)
Srinivasan, 65, said he feels good about the results, not just because he won, but because District 3 saw much higher participation than the city council race in District 5, which drew 4,512 votes, roughly 1,100 fewer than District 3.
“Which means that both my opponent and I did a very good job of getting to the voters and asking them to participate in the election. After all, that is what democracy is all about,” Srinivasan said.
While machines tally votes on the first pass, county policies trigger an automatic hand recount in any election contest with a margin of victory of less than 0.25% of ballots cast, or fewer than 25 total votes.
Election officials began a manual recount last week, and when it was completed, it showed the exact same result, with Srinivasan ahead by one vote, said Steve Goltiao, a spokesperson for the registrar’s office. “I think a lot of people here were surprised at how close it was,” Goltiao told San José Spotlight.
Like other contests in the county, the District 3 Sunnyvale race saw changes over time as votes were counted in the days and weeks after election night.
Read: Election 2022: Indian American winners and losers in the states (November 19, 2022)
Srinivasan was initially behind by more than 150 votes, he said, and slowly closed the gap between him and Wang. At one point, the candidates were tied before all votes were verified and the election results were certified.
“I am an engineer, so I tracked the trends and trajectory,” Srinivasan said. “And here the trajectory was that the gap was closing.”
Srinivasan, who will be sworn into office at the Sunnyvale City Council meeting on Jan 3, said there are similarities between him and Wang’s candidacies, though he considers himself a more “pragmatic” candidate.
He thinks the slight differences, such as his preference for a more balanced approach to building housing, might have motivated voters to come out for each candidate.
While he expected the result to be a single digit margin as he saw the gap narrowing, he wasn’t expecting just one vote of separation.
Read: Sunnyvale City Council Race Comes Down to Single Vote (December 15, 2022)
“It’s all theory. From day one of campaigning, you are taught that 50% plus one is the target you are to look for. But this is real life, this happened in real life. It’s no longer a theory,” Srinivasan said.
“So, the key lesson here is that every vote counts. Every vote counts, and every citizen should participate in elections.”