Assemblymember Evan Low tried to halt the recount in the Congressional District 16 race, with his lawyers sending a notice to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters asking them to stop it just days before it was set to begin, according to a letter obtained by this news organization.

Low and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian are currently tied for second place in the race to replace longtime U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo. The two candidates, along with former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who came in first, were set to move on to the November general election after the historic tie — the first for a congressional race in the state after California switched to a top-two open primary system more than a decade ago.

But last week, two individuals filed paperwork in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, where the district falls, requesting a recount of the votes.

On April 12, 2020 Biden delegate and former Liccardo mayoral campaign staffer Jonathan Padilla put down a $12,000 deposit in Santa Clara County. And on Monday morning, both counties began the recount, pulling ballots out of boxes as they prepared to start recounting the 182,135 votes cast in the race.

Low and his campaign have been critical of the recount, which could knock him or Simitian off the November ballot if the results change, and have blasted Liccardo and his camp, calling it a “page right out of Trump’s political playbook.” In his recount filing, Padilla wrote that he was requesting it on behalf of Low, but noted that he hadn’t communicated or coordinated with Low or any of the other campaigns. The law requires filers to state which candidate they’re making the request on behalf of, which is typically one of the candidates locked in a close or tied race.

The same day Padilla put down a deposit for the recount, Low’s attorneys, Emma Olson Sharkey and Aaron M. Mukerjee of the Elias Law Group, sent a letter to Santa Clara County Registrar Shannon Bushey stating that a machine recount “cannot move forward.”

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In the letter obtained by Return Sports, Sharkey and Mukerjee argued that Padilla changed his request at the last minute from a manual recount, which was expected to cost upwards of $400,000, to a much less expensive machine recount. The attorneys said that the deadline to request a recount was April 10, and while Padilla filed his original request for a manual recount on April 9, he asked to change it on April 12 after the deadline.

Low’s attorneys said Padilla would need to make a deposit for the costly manual recount on or before April 16 and if he didn’t, the recount couldn’t move forward.

“Over the past three days, both Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties have used extensive staff time and taxpayer resources to prepare for the manual recount requested by Mr. Padilla.” Sharkey and Mukerjee wrote. “Evan Low for Congress has also spent time preparing for a manual recount: and members of the public and interested parties have spent their own resources doing so as well. California law does not allow Mr. Padilla to simply change his mind and file a new request at this point, on the last business day before the recount is set to begin.”

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters could not be reached for comment Monday evening, but sources familiar with the matter said the county plans to move forward with the recount.

Low’s campaign declined to comment on whether they’d be taking additional legal action, but a source close to the issue said they don’t expect the assemblymember’s camp to take further action at this time.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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