Some had hoped to call Eric Adams the presumptive Democratic nominee in the race to be NYC’s next mayor, but the candidate seemed baffled by the results. “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,” announced the Adams campaign. “We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Rank Choice Voting projection.” The botched estimate had Adams edging out Kathryn Garcia, while absentee ballots were finally able to begin the counting process. The count had 941,832 votes cast for mayor, an increase of more than 140,000 from the 799,827 announced on election night.
Aaron Foldenauer, another mayoral candidate in the running, announced the glaring discrepancy. “Something is very wrong in the BOE RCV results today. Certain candidates for Mayor in Round 1 increase their vote totals by over 6-times, compared to the Round 1 Election Night tally. Something is amiss!”
Eventually, the BOE pulled the tabulations from their website and used Twitter to call for calm. “We are aware there is a discrepancy in the unofficial RCV round by round elimination report. We are working with our RCV technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred. We ask the public, elected officials and candidates to have patience.” The BOE then announced that unofficial RCV results will begin to appear the follow day on Wednesday. Tuesday, June 29, was the final day for absentee ballots to arrive at the BOE, and 124,000 currently remain to be counted. It appears that 55,000 of those ballots are from areas that are Adams strongholds, while 39,000 are those favored by Garcia voters. Those results will be available in a week’s time.
“Very disappointing” was how State Board of Elections co-chairman Doug Kellner titled the situation, and criticized the city BOE’s “lack of transparency with respect to the counting of the ranked-choice cast voting records. Because they haven’t released them, it’s very difficult to find the source of any error.”
Some speculate that reports were missing from the original number at the close of polls, while others have decided that certain figures were uploaded twice. It remained unclear if the error rested in human hands or computer glitches. Other suggested that 130,000 votes remained in the system from an earlier test run of the system.
The unofficial results from the first round of voting on Election day put Adams ahead of Maya Wiley, 253,234 votes (31.66%) to 177,722 (22.22%). The initial released votes had Adams pulling ahead to 51.1% after 11 rounds of RCV, with Kathryn Garcia in second-place at 48.9%.
In RCV, Wiley’s votes landed in Garcia’s lap, while to the surprise of pollsters, 37,000 of Andrew Yang’s went to Garcia and only 31,000 to Adams.
“Every poll that was conducted throughout the mayor’s race showed Eric Adams winning most of Yang’s voters,” wrote Chris Coffey, a top strategist who often accompanied Yang. In the final days of the election, Yang and Garcia were photographed together potentially changing polls outlooks.
By Shabsie Saphirstein