SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It's Election Day and ABC7 is hearing from the four front-runners vying to lead the Bay Area's most populous city.
Voters in San Jose are getting ready to elect a new mayor. Voter turnout, though, is not expected to be high, with 1 in 5 ballots statewide being turned in during the early voting period.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has termed out of office and waiting in the wings to replace him are seven candidates four of whom currently serve in local government and are considered top candidates.
Starting in alphabetical order, they include Cindy Chavez. Currently, a Santa Clara County supervisor, Chavez has received endorsements from a handful of prominent state politicians.
If elected mayor, she says she's looking to tackle things like homelessness, crime, and affordable housing.
She says one of the biggest things she brings to the table is experience.
"It's important that we not only have people who are experienced, but people have a track record of success," Chavez said. "Because what we're going to be facing now is so much more challenging than what we faced in the past."
Chavez hopes that the low voter turnout trend will shift on Tuesday and people will decide to submit their ballots.
"What I want to tell people is to get through all that we are facing is, we have to get engaged and one way is voting," she said after casting her ballot Tuesday morning alongside her husband and son.
Next up is Dev Davis, who is currently a San Jose City Council member for District 6. Davis worked for 12 years as an education researcher at Stanford University.
She counts former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed as one of her supporters.
She said, if elected, making the city safer and homelessness are top priorities.
"We need to not only double down but triple down our homeless prevention strategies," Davis told ABC7 Monday. "As well as ensuring that we have safety, sanitation and services for all of the shelter and housing options that we provide."
Canvassing neighborhoods Monday was candidate Matt Mahan, also a city council member for San Jose's 10th district.
Mahan touts a background in business.
He has the endorsement of The Mercury News.
Like the other candidates, crime and homelessness are at the top of his list.
"We've seen an increase in crime, people don't feel safe in their own community, there's been a real lack of accountability on that front," Mahan said. "And on homelessness, while we're working hard to help people, we aren't helping enough people and we need to turn the corner, we've got to be much more pragmatic about investing in addiction treatment, mental health treatment, cost-effective shelter, and bringing people indoors."
The last of the four-front runners is San Jose city council member Raul Peralez, endorsed by four other current San Jose City Council members.
Peralez is a former San Jose police officer and still serves as a reserve officer.
His top priorities also include affordable housing and homelessness.
"I've seen (homelessness) grow over the last seven-year by literally the 1000s," Peralez said. "We've seen our homeless population grow, we have people suffering and dying out in our streets, and we need to get a handle on that. That'll be priority number one for me."
The three other candidates include James Spence, a retired police sergeant, and students Travis Hill and Marshall Allen Woodmansee. The winning candidate has to get more than half of the vote in Tuesday's primary.
If no one does, the two candidates with the most votes run in November in the general election.
Voters ABC7 talked to in San Jose agree that it's essential to be heard this Election Day. "From what I hear, voting is really low right now and we should really get out there and make a difference," said voter Agnes Spence.
"I vote in every election. I make the time. It wasn't easy this time but I feel like it is my responsibility," said Benji Tittle.
San Jose residents are looking forward to seeing who is elected and what the new mayor will do for the largest city in the Bay Area.
"I think it is going to be interesting to see the direction everything goes from here," Tittle said.
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