The busy race for the seat of mayor of New York City recently fell into absolute chaos as election officials admitted that test ballots were included in the tally alongside official ballots.
It was already expected to take weeks to determine a winner for the Democratic primary race that will determine Mayor Bill De Blasio’s successor in the deep-blue city. Because the voting process included mail-in ballots and a ranked-choice voting system, the primary’s winner was expected to be unknown until mid-July at best.
But on Tuesday, officials released the first round of voting results from the ranked-choice ballots, which indicated that Eric Adams has lost a good portion of the lead he held just last week.
Adams’ lead closed down to 3% or 15,908 votes against Kathryn Garcia, with votes split 51.1%-48.9%. Adams’ campaign quickly responded to the news by highlighting vote count “irregularities.”
The Board of Elections released a tweet that revealed a “discrepancy,” but did not state the details of what the problem was.
The New York City Board of Elections made a statement on Tuesday that confessed that 135,000 sample ballots were accidentally tabulated in the official vote count, which significantly skews the ranked-choice voting results. They added that they plan to remove all test ballots from the system and reexamine the results from election night, cross-referencing those data against “election night reporting software” in order to verify their results. Then the primary results will be re-tabulated.
Candidates who have a good shot at winning the primary, Maya Wiley, Garcia, and Adams, all voiced frustration over the problems.
Wiley’s campaign alleged that the failure isn’t just reflective of the Board of Elections most recently, but is a consequence of “generations of failures” that have never been addressed, adding that it’s “impossible to be surprised.” The statement continued, blasting the NYCBOE for having “mishandled tens of thousands of… ballots” in last year’s June primary, and for the organizations continued “mismanagement” that exposes not a “flaw in… election laws” but a repeated failure on the part of “those who implement it.”
Garcia’s campaign called the incorrect results “deeply troubling,” and demanded that the BOE release a “transparent and complete explanation” of the issue.
Adams’ campaign, with softer tone, called the mistake “unfortunate” and stressed the importance of New Yorkers ability to have confidence in their electoral system. They added that they “appreciate the Board’s transparency” in their mistake and “look forward” to seeing the true results.
Author: Camille Cooper