On Wednesday, the New York City
Board of Elections
issued new tallies of candidates' shares of in-person votes
that were similar to the original, erroneous totals, a day after an embarrassing error caused the board to rescind unofficial results in the Democratic
After the city's Board of Elections ran in-person results through the ranked-choice voting
system, eliminating candidates until only two remained, Kathryn Garcia
is trailing Eric Adams
by a narrow margin in New York City's Democratic mayoral primary.
The results are still unofficial because they do not include the nearly 125,000 absentee ballots submitted by Democrats
; absentee ballots are due to be counted by next Tuesday, and official results are expected by July 12.
Nonetheless, the preliminary results show how the leading candidates fared in the ranked-choice voting system: Adams, the Brooklyn
, leads Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, 51.1% to 48.9% in the in-person vote after nine rounds of elimination.
Before being eliminated in the final round, civil rights
attorney Maya Wiley
was catching up to Garcia, receiving 29.5% to Garcia's 29.6%; only 347 votes separated her from a matchup with Adams in the final round.
Throughout the coming weeks, the campaign will urge patience.
Former Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia
The preliminary result represents a significant change from election night on June 22, prior to the implementation of the ranked-choice voting elimination system, when Adams led Wiley by nine percentage points and Garcia by eleven.
“Our campaign was the first choice of voters
on Election Day
and is leading this race by a significant margin because we put together a five-borough working class coalition of New Yorkers to make our city a safer, fairer, and more affordable place,” the Adams campaign said in a statement Wednesday.
Garcia appears to have benefited from her decision to refrain from attacking her opponents and to campaign in the final days with entrepreneur Andrew Yang
, who instructed his supporters to rank Garcia second, though Garcia did not reciprocate.
Garcia received slightly more votes from Yang after he was eliminated than Adams, and far more votes from Wiley after she was eliminated than Adams.
Garcia stated in a statement released
on Wednesday that the unofficial results show her and Adams in a "dead heat."
“Over 124,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and the campaign urges patience in the coming weeks,” she said.
Rather than railing against one another, the candidates have voiced their dissatisfaction with the New York City Board of Elections.
“Following yesterday’s humiliating debacle, the Board of Elections must count every vote in an open manner so that New Yorkers can have confidence that their votes are being counted accurately,” Wiley said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The Adams campaign and other observers noted that the in-person voting totals had increased by a much larger number than the board had claimed on June 22 had yet to be counted after the board released preliminary results on Tuesday.
The results were removed from the board's website as the evening progressed on Tuesday, and an explanation was provided around 10:30 p.m. Eastern: the board had mistakenly left 135,000 additional test ballots in its software system prior to entering in the actual votes.
The incident prompted rounds of mockery from public officials and journalists
, who marveled at the agency's elementary error and expressed concern about how the mistake would further erode confidence in the integrity of elections. Proponents of the ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, in particular, feared that the new system, adopted by city voters in a 2019 referendum, would bear
the blame for tampering with elections.
On Wednesday, Frederic M. Umane, president of the New York City Board of Elections, and board secretary Miguelina Camilo issued an apology
“Let us be clear: RCV was not the problem; rather, it was a human error that could have been avoided,” the officials said, adding that “we have implemented another layer of review and quality control before publishing information in the future.”
The Adams campaign is not leaving the integrity of additional results to chance. After being mocked and then vindicated for questioning “irregularities” in the results, the campaign has sued for judicial oversight of the vote counting to “ensure a fair and transparent election process.” The step, commonly taken by campaigns as a formality, will allow Adams to obtain a Kings County Supreme Court
Critics of various ideological stripes are taking it a step further, urging the state legislature to amend the state Constitution so that local election authorities are run by nonpartisan technocrats rather than political appointees from both parties.
Others simply questioned why the board chose to release preliminary results without accounting for absentee ballots at all, arguing that waiting for complete results would have given the board more time to correct its error.
“Why they would put out an interim number is beyond me,” Sid Davidoff, a city lobbyist with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said. “The fact that they did it incompetently is another question.”
The board's spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about the decision to publish preliminary results.