Top Democratic candidates in New York City’s mayoral race blasted the city’s election board after it mistakenly counted about 135,000 test ballots.
The election board walked back its initial unofficial projections for the Democratic primary on Tuesday after discovering the error. The board plans to recount the votes and is not expected to name a primary winner until mid-July, according to The New York Times.
Democratic mayoral candidates slammed the board in statements issued Tuesday evening after the board admitted the error and retracted its initial findings.
Former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley, who was sitting second behind retired police officer Eric Adams after the first round of vote counting, ripped the board’s “mismanagement” and compared its handling of the mayoral race to its handling of the 2020 election.
“This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed. Sadly it is impossible to be surprised. 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,” Wiley said.
“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,” she continued. “The BOE must now count the remainder of the votes transparently and ensure the integrity of the process moving forward. New Yorkers deserve it.”
The third-place candidate Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, said the error was “deeply troubling and called for the board to issue a “much more transparent and complete explanation.”
“Every ranked choice and absentee vote must be counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and our government,” she said. “I am confident that every candidate will accept the final results and support whomever the voters have elected.”
Adams rebuked the board Tuesday evening after it released primary results showing “100,000-plus more” votes tallied than were announced in election night. Adams asked the board to explain the “massive increase and other irregularities” with the election. He later softened his tone after the board said it had mistakenly counted 135,000 test ballots.
“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,” Adams said, according to the Times.
The unofficial results showing Wiley and Garcia in second and third place were before the board began working through the rank-choice voting system, which could impact the outcome of the race. This is the first mayoral election for which New York City has used rank choice voting, though the city has used the method in elections for other offices.