Holy Ballot Box! Did BART to San Jose Just Pass?

17,000 provisional ballots still left to count

It's beginning to appear that Santa Clara's Measure B, that would bring BART to San Jose, could be a winner once all the ballots are counted.

About 3,800 more provisional ballots counted Monday brought the yes vote to 407,932, or 66.67 percent.

That is precisely the threshold needed for passage -- if it holds. 

The count won't be finished until Friday, but Santa Clara officials are hardly pessimistic anymore.

The pink slips, in this case, could be good news --- for the backers of the BART extension.

They are what's left of an estimated 35,000 provisional ballots.  After Monday's painstaking verification process, 11,000 remain to be counted.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is feeling better about the prospects than he was in the days after the election.

"We're getting very close but we're not quite over the top," he said. "So I'm very, cautiously optimistic."

Regardless of the outcome, its a testament that in a difficult economy, two thirds of Santa Clara voters were willing to pay an eighth of a cent more in sales taxes to bring BART to San Jose.

Measure B extends BART 16.1 miles from the Warm Springs stop in Fremont to the Diridon Station in San Jose, completing the rail link around the bay.

Why is the provisional count more friendly to BART than the results from the general election? 

There's no conclusion at this point, but there are theories.   

One of them is that the ballots of many younger voters ended up in the stack of provisional votes.

"And that might explain it because younger voters tended to be much higher supporters of BART than the population at large," Reed said.

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