Evan Low leads Joe Simitian by four votes as Santa Clara County finishes recount. Here’s why he hasn’t won yet.

The more than 182,000 ballots in the Congressional District 16 race have been recounted and Assemblymember Evan Low is ahead of Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian by four votes — but the final results are still unknown as more than a dozen challenged ballots are still up in the air in San Mateo County.

On Tuesday, Santa Clara County wrapped up the recount after more than two weeks of counting in the primary race to replace U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, with Low gaining 11 votes overall and Simitian gaining seven. San Mateo County finished its count last week and saw no changes in the vote totals for either candidate.

The captivating recount kicked off April 15 — more than a week after Low and Simitian tied for second place behind former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. And with no automatic recount provision in statewide or federal races in California, Jonathan Padilla, a 2020 and 2024 Biden delegate and former mayoral campaign staffer for Liccardo, requested the recount and has been paying for it through a Super PAC called Count the Vote.

The final result now hinges on what happens next in San Mateo County.

Jim Irizarry, the county’s Assistant Chief Elections Officer, couldn’t be reached for comment, but said on Friday that they were still waiting on information from the U.S. Postal Service that was needed to make their ruling.

The 17 ballots arrived without postmark dates on them that showed whether they were sent on or before Election Day or the date was completely illegible.

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