LIVE BLOG: Voting underway in Santa Clara County
A voter delivers his ballot on a rainy Election Day on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    After a heated election season in Silicon Valley, voters headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in a consequential election that will bring new leadership to San Jose City Hall.

    In San Jose, residents will vote for a new mayor to replace Mayor Sam Liccardo. The highly-anticipated—and most expensive—contest of the season pitted a longtime experienced politician, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, against a business-backed newcomer, Councilmember Matt Mahan.

    San Jose voters will choose councilmembers in Districts 3, 5 and 7. In downtown District 3, college trustee Omar Torres faces off with Irene Smith, a small business owner. In East San Jose’s District 5, two familiar faces are on the ballot—former Assemblymember Nora Campos and education trustee Peter Ortiz. In District 7, Councilmember Maya Esparza is fending off challenger Bien Doan, a San Jose fire captain. San Joseans will also decide on Measure I, which will allow non-citizens to serve on all city commissions, among other changes.

    Countywide, voters will elect a new sheriff for the first time in two decades, choosing between former Palo Alto Police Chief Robert “Bob” Jonsen and retired sheriff Capt. Kevin Jensen. San Jose Councilmember Sylvia Arenas and former Councilmember Johnny Khamis are competing for the District 1 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

    You can find a full list of candidates here and local measures here. Read about all the candidates running here.

    Follow San José Spotlight’s LIVE BLOG all day for updates on results, analysis of the top races and more.

    Santa Clara County’s Registrar of Voters is ready for voters on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    11 p.m. Early election results posted

    With 49% of the county’s total ballots counted, elections officials released the last round of results at 11 p.m. Tuesday. The next update will be 5 p.m. on Wednesday on the county’s website.

    Click on the stories below for a look at who is leading each race:

    8:30 p.m. Labor leaders gather for election party

    More than 100 people gathered at the South Bay Labor Council’s election party to celebrate their efforts to elect labor-friendly candidates.

    South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Jean Cohen spoke to a crowd of about 100 people, surrounded by labor-friendly elected officials and candidates on election night. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.
    Sen. Dave Cortese and Assemblymember Ash Kalra share a laugh at the South Bay Labor Council’s election party on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

    South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Jean Cohen said San Jose has always been a town for working families but the city council and mayor hasn’t always represented those values. Labor leaders are hoping to win the mayor’s seat for the first time in eight years.

    A slew of elected officials rubbed elbows at the party, including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Sen. Dave Cortese, Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Councilmembers Maya Esparza, Sylvia Arenas and Sergio Jimenez. Santa Clara County Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Otto Lee were also there.

    8 p.m. Polls close, Mahan leads San Jose mayor’s race

    San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan has emerged as the frontrunner in the highly-anticipated and competitive San Jose mayor’s race.

    San Jose Councilmember and mayoral candidate Matt Mahan arrives at his election night party in downtown San Jose. Photo by Tran Nguyen.

    READ MORE: San Jose mayor’s race

    5:30 p.m. Candidates dropped off their ballots, urged voters to the polls

    With the polls closing at 8 p.m., local candidates took to social media to urge residents to cast their ballots.

    Mahan, who cast his ballot earlier with his family, called on voters to call or text their friends to vote.

    “It’s been proven that the best way to get out the vote is to start with your very own network,” Mahan said in a tweet. “Can you call or text three friends right now and ask them to vote?”

    In District 7, incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza, who’s seeking reelection, was at the voting center at the Tully Library.

    “Happy Election Day!” Esparza said in the video. “There’s plenty of time to vote. You can drop off your ballot at the nearest ballot box or go inside your polling location. As long as your ballot is postmarked today, it counts.”

    Assemblymember Alex Lee, who’s facing off Republican challenger Bob Brunton for the same job in a new district after a redistricting process, also urge voters to take action.

    “Don’t sit this Election Day out and vote now,” he said in a tweet.

    Irene Smith and Omar Torres, both running to replace Councilmember Raul Peralez in the downtown race, also tweeted photos of them casting their ballots. Torres filled out his ballot at his father’s grave.

    “He was instrumental in getting me involved. I loved going to the polls with my father,” Torres said. “Now, I head over to the cemetery to fill out my ballot every election. With my Popz watching over me!”

    4 p.m. No problems reported despite rain

    County election officials say no issues have been reported at vote centers, but they’re taking precautions anyway — especially with the rain.

    The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has put up tents to provide covered walkways for voters, and every one of the county’s 103 vote centers has backup power generators in case of electricity outages.

    Spokesman Michael Borja said the registrar’s office parking lot is equipped with extra lighting and will resemble a festival of sorts after polls close. Couriers will arrive with ballots collected from vote centers, line up in the lot and be greeted by more than 100 volunteers in brightly-colored vests and ponchos, who will unload the bags of ballots and bring them in for sorting.

    There are also election observers at the office, watching the process to ensure integrity of the vote, Borja said.

    “It’s quite an elaborate scene,” Borja told San José Spotlight.

    Borja said voter turnout is hovering around 31% and officials still estimate between 55% and 65% turnout.

    3:30 Scarce voter turnout in East San Jose

    At Mexican Heritage Plaza on Alum Rock Avenue in East San Jose, the voter turnout was low this afternoon.

    The Si Se Puede Collective, a coalition of East San Jose nonprofits, set up resource booths to draw voters. They handed out voter guides and activity sheets for children.

    Karool Graciano and Susana Burgos, manning a booth, said a few people had come by and expected more families to come after school and work hours.

    “Our goal is to encourage eligible voters to get out there,” Graciano said. “We also want to create community engagement.”

    Karool Graciano and Susana Burgos of the Si Se Puede coalition await voters at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

    Ben Gadnea, 74, lives just blocks away from the Mexican Heritage Plaza.

    He said he voted “because democracy matters.”

    In choosing the next mayor, Gadnea considers the candidates experience and years in the field. His greatest concerns are crime, poverty and unemployment. “I voted in person because it matters,” he said, adding he wanted to be example to his two-year-old grandson, Nathan.

    East San Jose voter Ben Gadnea cast his vote with his grandson watching at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

    11:30 a.m. Voters weigh equity at ballot box

    After a divisive election season, many voters at San Jose State University’s vote center focused on equity and unity.

    Jahmal Williams, 39, who works at the university, said racial justice is a top priority for him. That’s why the downtown San Jose resident voted in favor of Measure I, which would require the city to adopt an equity statement of values and allow non-citizens to serve on all city commissions.

    Voter Jahmal Williams said he’s weighing how the city can be more equitable as he votes on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    In the months leading up to Election Day, voters were besieged by racially-charged mailers and campaign messaging.

    “As a Black person, it’s important for me to know that we have a mayor and (officials) who are placing issues around race, gender equity at the forefront,” Williams, a father of two, told San José Spotlight. He believes elected officials should make decisions, whether about housing or employment, with communities of color in mind. “I would just want to see those relationships built, those conversations had.”

    Voter Seiji Kawamura, 66, cast his ballot at San Jose State University on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    Seiji Kawamura, 66, an SJSU student and San Jose resident, shared concerns about political partisanship. Kawamura leans right and said polarization during this election season, including the attack on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband, should be condemned.

    “There’s no call for that, no one supports (violence),” Kawamura said. “Any free society is at risk when fewer people vote.”

    9:10 a.m. San Jose mayoral candidate Cindy Chavez votes

    Braving the rain at the Roosevelt Community Center, San Jose mayoral candidate and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez cast her vote today. Her husband Mike Potter joined her.

    San Jose mayoral candidate and county Supervisor Cindy Chavez votes in San Jose on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    Chavez said her campaign team has been up since 5 a.m. preparing for Election Day.

    “We’re going to be doing that until 8 p.m. tonight,” Chavez told San José Spotlight. “Doors, phones, doors, phones—and making sure people remember to vote.”

    8:30 a.m. Early Latino voter turnout trails

    Early voter turnout among Latinos is trailing, according to a database that tracks returned ballots across California.

    According to PDI, about 20% of Latinos in Santa Clara County have voted so far. That number trails 36% of white voters and 28% Asian voters.

    A look at voter turnout as of 9 a.m. in Santa Clara County. Screenshot courtesy of PDI.

    To help get out the vote, a coalition of East San Jose organizations is hosting an Election Day party from noon to 8 p.m. today in front of the Mexican Heritage Plaza on Alum Rock Avenue.

    The party, hosted by the Si Se Puede Collective, will include a food truck, music and resources to help families meet their needs.

    8 a.m. San Jose mayoral candidate Matt Mahan votes

    San Jose mayoral candidate and Councilmember Matt Mahan drops off his ballot in San Jose on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Lorraine Gabbert.

    Flanked by his wife and two young children, San Jose mayoral candidate and Councilmember Matt Mahan dropped off his ballot at the Almaden Community Center in San Jose.

    “We’re going to be calling voters until the polls close,” Mahan told San José Spotlight. “We’re not taking any votes for granted. We’ll be working the phones all day.”

    Mayoral candidate Supervisor Cindy Chavez is expected to cast her vote shortly at the Roosevelt Community Center.

    7:30 a.m. Voting begins in Silicon Valley

    Santa Clara County officials are anticipating a 55% to 65% voter turnout today.

    Michael Borja, a spokesman for the county’s Registrar of Voters, told San José Spotlight the county’s already seen 30% of vote-by-mail ballots returned.

    “No hiccups. Everything is running smooth,” Borja said. “We actually had a voter arrive 7 a.m. on the dot.”

    While rain is pouring on Election Day, voters are trickling in to case their ballots in person.

    Robert Marion Barksdale, 91, was the first voter at the door at 7 a.m. at the Santa Clara County Register of Voters. He’s been delivering his ballot personally since 1961 and hopes elected officials focus less on political partisanship in favor of making fiscally responsible decisions for residents.

    “(Voting) is a requirement as well as a privilege,” Barksdale told San José Spotlight. “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to talk about it.”

    Voter Robert Marion Barksdale, 91, was first in line to cast his vote at the county Registrar of Voters on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    At the Roosevelt Community Center, Luna Bautista, 19, started her Election Day bright and early at 6 a.m.

    She’s a first-time voter and volunteer at the vote center. Young people should get informed and flock to the polls if they can, Bautista said. Voting should include studying up on crucial issues like homelessness and climate change.

    “I tell (friends) to go vote because why not? You can do it,” Bautista told San José Spotlight.

    Luna Bautista, 19, is a first time voter and volunteer. Photo by Loan-Anh Pham.

    Vote centers across Santa Clara County are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Find a drop box for ballots here. Find an in-person vote center here.

    After vote centers close, election results will be posted here.

    Check back throughout the day for more updates.

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