You could say it happens once in a blue moon. A City forced to choose its newest council member through a drawing of names. That’s what happened on Jan. 3, in Sunnyvale’s City Council Chambers.
Murali Srinivasan and Justin Wang sat on opposite sides of the aisle on Tuesday morning while the City Clerk explained how Sunnyvale would decide the election District 3. It would all come down to drawing a name out of a bag.
The name draw occurred because of a rarely used City rule. It states that if an election ends in a tie, the City will draw names by lot to determine the winner.
The Nov. 8 election between Srinivasan and Wang ended with Srinivasan in the lead by a single vote. When the Registrar of Voters conducted a recount, it found two more votes for Wang and one more vote for Srinivasan, leading to a tie at 2,814 votes apiece.
On Jan. 3, both Srinivasan and Wang wrote their names on a piece of paper and then sealed that paper in an envelope. The candidates placed the envelopes in an opaque bag that the City Clerk zipped closed. The City Clerk shook the bag and handed it to Wang, who also gave the bag a shake. Wang handed the bag to Srinivasan, who shook it as well.
Then, the City Clerk drew out an envelope and announced Srinivasan as the winner. Srinivasan embraced his family in celebration.
The City of Sunnyvale swore in Srinivasan and the other two newly elected council members at the City Council meeting that evening. Richard Mehlinger was elected to represent District 5, while Linda Sell was appointed in August to represent District 1 because she was the only one running for the position.
All three new council members will serve full, four-year terms.
One of the first orders of business for the new council members was to elect the vice mayor of Sunnyvale. The Council voted to install Omar Din as vice mayor. Din will take over for Alysa Cisneros, who served as vice mayor in 2022.