Murali Srinivasan wins tied Sunnyvale City Council race after name drawn from bag

Cupertino Today reported on several notable South Bay election stories last fall.  However, nearly two months after Election Day, a local city council race in Sunnyvale is still making news. After two recounts, the City Council’s District 3 race ended in a 2,814-2,814 vote tie between two candidates: Murali Srinivasan and Justin Wang.  The Charter of the City of Sunnyvale’s solution to this incredibly rare electoral outcome is to empower the City Clerk to determine a tiebreaker process.  This Tuesday morning in the council chambers, City Clerk David Carnahan pulled a name out of a bag.

Srinivasan and Wang’s names were written on small pieces of paper, which were then placed in envelopes that were added to a tote bag.  Both candidates shook the bag before Carnahan removed a single envelope and announced that Srinivasan had won. Srinivasan, 65, is an engineer and longtime Sunnyvale resident who campaigned on a history of community involvement.

While extremely uncommon, Bay Area voters are familiar with the prospect of electoral ties;  a tied Council seat race in the City of Richmond was decided by a similar process at the beginning of December.  In the Sunnyvale race, prior to the tie outcome, the original machine count and a first recount both had shown Srinivasan in the lead by a single vote.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the City of Sunnyvale noted that “these election results complete the City’s transition to district-based elections.”

The tied elections in Sunnyvale and Richmond are a reminder to voters that every vote matters in our democracy.