Benny Lee led his closest challenger, Chris Crow, by a 60-40 margin in a four-way race Wednesday morning after ranked choice votes were counted, earning him a seat on the San Leandro City Council.
Lee will become the representative of council district four which covers Washington Manor. He joins incumbent Jim Prola, who handily beat challenger Hermy Almonte in a head to head race in council district six and the Mulford Gardens area.
But two races remain up for grabs in contests that prove how much each vote counts, especially in local election.
As of 10 am Wednesday, incumbent Councilwoman Ursula Reed led school board president Morgan Mack-Rose by 97 votes in a three-way race for district 2 which covers southeast San Leandro.
And Measure L, the $39-per-house school parcel tax, was a little over a percent shy of the two-thirds margin it needed to pass.
Local blogger and election strategist Mike Katz said that based on past voter turnouts in San Leandro there are likely more than 5,000 uncounted ballots, such as vote-by-mail packets that were filled out too late to send by postal service and had to be dropped off in person Tuesday.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters estimates there could be 140,000 late or provisional ballots still uncounted. The county has 28 days to certify elections though final tallys will likely be done much earlier.
In the Reed-versus-Mack-Rose race, the critical dynamic is what happens to the second-place votes of the third candidate, Bal Theater owner Dan Dillman. Reed has lead all along in first place votes. But Mack-Rose has gained on the incumbent by grabbing a larger share of Dillman's second choice votes.
So at this point the outcome hinges on two unknowns: the number of uncounted ballots, and how Dillman's second-choices are split between Reed and Mack-Rose.
A similar dynamic is at play with the Measure L parcel tax, which needed a daunting two-thirds margin to pass.
Measure L had started the night with a yes vote in the low 60s and had slowly climbed as the count progressed to end Tuesday with 65.38 percent of the 14,475 votes tabulated thus far.
But Katz said more than 22,000 ballots were cast in the 2010 San Leandro mayor's race.
Again, the variables are: how many ballots remain uncounted and whether the parcel tax will continue creeping up in the vote count to jump that two-thirds hurdle.
Stick with Patch for continuing election coverage and analysis.