The race to determine the next mayor of New York City descended into further chaos Tuesday after election officials admitted they included test ballots in the official vote tallies.
What are the details?
As TheBlaze reported, confirming the winner of the Democratic primary — which essentially determines the successor of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) in heavily Democratic New York City — was already expected to take weeks. Because of mail-in ballots and ranked-choice voting, the winner of the primary was expected to be revealed by mid-July at the earliest.
On Tuesday, officials released the first round of ranked-choice voting results, resulting in Eric Adams losing a significant portion of the nearly 10-point lead he won last week.
Adams’ lead, in fact, shrank to fewer than 3%. “The preliminary results that were initially posted had Adams with 51.1% of the vote and [Kathryn] Garcia with 48.9%, with 15,908 votes separating the two,” WCBS-TV reported. Adams’ campaign responded by highlighting “irregularities” within the vote count.
The Board of Elections then released a cryptic tweet revealing a “discrepancy” in the results without disclosing the exact details of the problem.
Board of Elections officials finally identified that “discrepancy” late Tuesday night: Sample ballots, about 135,000, had been tabulated in the official vote count, significantly skewing the ranked-choice voting results.
The NYCBOE said in a statement:
When the cast vote records were extracted for the first pull of [ranked-choice voting] results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records. Board staff has removed all test ballot images from the system and will upload election night results, cross-referencing against election night reporting software for verification. The cast vote record will be re-generated and the RCV rounds will be re-tabulated.
The first round of ranked-choice voting results will now be published Wednesday, June 30.
What was the reaction?
Candidates with a chance to win the primary — Adams, Garcia, and Maya Wiley, who was closest to Adams after preliminary results on primary day — voiced their frustration over the problems.
“This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed. Sadly it is impossible to be surprised,” Wiley’s campaign said. “Last summer BOE mishandled tens of thousands of mail in ballots during the June 2020 primary. It has also been prone to complaints of patronage. Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times.”
Garcia’s campaign said, “New Yorkers want free and fair elections, which is why we overwhelmingly voted to enact ranked choice voting. The BOE’s release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.”
Adams’ campaign said, “Today’s mistake by the Board of Elections was unfortunate. It is critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time. We appreciate the Board’s transparency and acknowledgment of their error. We look forward to the release of an accurate, updated simulation, and the timely conclusion of this critical process.”