The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) on Tuesday released preliminary results from 11 rounds of ranked-choice voting (RCV) in the mayoral race. The problem is, those results only include ballots from early voting and Election Day and there are still more than 100,000 absentee ballots left to be counted.
The BOE said it would conduct the count again, in its entirety, after all absentee ballots are counted. So, why go through the initial round of ranked-choice counting, if the early results are going to be ignored for the final results, which aren’t expected before July 12?
Making matters worse, after releasing the preliminary report, the BOE said late Tuesday that there is a “discrepancy” in the unofficial RCV round-by-round elimination numbers. The BOE said it is working to address the issue and is asking the public, elected officials and candidates to “have patience.”
The BOE then pulled the results from its website and released a statement indicating that it accidentally added about 135,000 votes to its preliminary RCV calculations and promised an accurate preliminary recount soon.
How can the BOE ask the public to “have patience” when the agency completely lacked patience of its own regarding the primary election results. The department should have simply waited to count all ballots — every single vote — before starting the ranked-choice counts. Instead, we have chaos, in what is perhaps the city’s biggest election cycle in years.
The results of this election will determine our next mayor, comptroller, public advocate and dozens of City Council members. And now, because of the BOE’s failure to successfully implement RCV on a citywide level, how can we, the people, fully trust the results of this election — never mind the candidates?
The BOE should have practiced what it preached and patiently waited for all votes to be counted before releasing the unofficial RCV round-by-round elimination numbers. There is no value to creating the kind of chaos that is now surrounding this election.
After the troubling events of the 2020 presidential election, which saw a sitting president challenge the democratic process due to fear of losing, it is more important than ever to uphold the integrity of elections in our city.
The BOE must fix the mistakes it made, and must do it now.