NEW YORK — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appeared to be ahead in the Democratic Primary for mayor after the NYC Board of Elections calculated who would win with only in person votes under the new ranked choice voting system.
Adams was ahead by around 9% in preliminary 1st choice results released the evening of the primary. A count released Tuesday afternoon showed he edged out Kathryn Garcia by just over 2%, but those results included more than 100,000 test ballots in addition to actual in-person votes, the BOE announced Tuesday night.
The results will be re-released Wednesday, the BOE said after removing the incorrect data and issuing a statement.
“The vote total just released by the Board of Elections is 100,000-plus more than the total announced on election night, raising serious questions,” Adams’ campaign said in an emailed statement. “We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Ranked Choice Voting projection. We remain confident that Eric Adams will be the next mayor of New York because he put together a historic five-borough working class coalition of New Yorkers to make our city a safer, fairer, more affordable place.”
The new ranked choice count excludes about 130,000 absentee ballots that are still being processed by the BOE.
The second to last round of counting showed Adams with 40.9%, former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio Maya Wiley with 29.3% and former Sanitation Commissioner Katheryn Garcia with 29.8%. In the final ranked choice count Adams had 51.1% and Garcia had 48.9%
This much closer result gives some hope to Garcia and Wiley. Both are counting on absentee ballots to propel them to victory.
“Democracy, as John Lewis said, is an act. And New York City residents engaged in one of the central acts of democracy! They voted,” Wiley said. “And they acted when they chose overwhelmingly to adopt ranked-choice voting. I said on election night, we must allow the democratic process to continue and count every vote so that New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and government. And we must all support its results.”
Monday began the process of scanning absentees into the BOE computer system. First, each one was opened under the careful observation of a Republican and Democrat, sometimes campaign observers keeping unofficial tallies.
Tuesday’s results were said to include all in-person ballots cast — and only in-person ballots cast — but candidates and observers noticed a discrepancy between Tuesday’s data and polling data released on primary night after polls had closed.
Election night results showed about 800,000 in-person votes, said to be nearly all of the in-person ballots. But Tuesday’s data featured more than 940,000 votes, creating confusion over how many in-person votes are actually in play, and why there are so many more votes in Tuesday’s total — more than expected.
In a statement, the Adams camp asked for the Board of Elections to explain “such a massive increase and other irregularities.”
The BOE responded Tuesday night saying it was aware of the issue, but that an explanation was still to come.
It was later Tuesday night the the board announced that more than 130,000 test ballots weren’t properly cleared from the system.
A second ranked choice voting count including most of the absentee ballots is scheduled to be released Tuesday, July 6. This second count will likely determine enough information to know the winner in most races, including the race for mayor.
The Board of Elections officials have promised final certified results during the week of July 12. It is after this date that absentee ballots eligible to be “cured” due to issues like a missing signature are due. Only the closes races should be undecided by the week of the 12th, including the Democratic race for Queens borough president, the Republican race for Staten Island borough president, along with few competitive City Council races.
PIX11’s Corey Crockett and Aliza Chasan contributed.