Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia lead mayoral race after initial RCV count, but thousands of absentee ballots remain to be counted

Eric Adams
Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor, speaks during a news conference outside Brooklyn borough hall in Brooklyn.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Eric Adams’ substantial lead seems to have shrunk considerably Tuesday after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) released unofficial, preliminary results based on ranked-choice voting tabulations.

Those results, which eliminated all the candidates through RCV from early voting and election day ballots, show that after 11 rounds, Adams has 51.1% of the vote (368,898 votes), with Kathryn Garcia in second with 48.9% of the vote (352,990 votes).

Maya Wiley, who was in second place on Election Night was eliminated in the 11th round as Garcia garnered enough second- and third-choice votes to vault over Wiley. If Garcia were to win, she would be the first female mayor in the city’s history.

However, Wiley could still come back once the absentee and affidavit ballots are counted and factored in with RCV. 

According to the BOE there are still 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots that have yet to be tallied. Once those votes are counted, the BOE will undergo the ranked-choice tabulations again, this time with every ballot accounted for.

This means that there are more than enough votes left available to put Garcia or Wiley past Adams.

 Adams said the numbers released by the BOE raise “serious questions.

“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 said in a statement Tuesday evening. “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.”

Meanwhile, Garcia seemed confident that the preliminary results may provide her with a path to victory, 

“Even with today’s ranked-choice report we are still waiting for more than 120,000 absentee ballots to be counted and we are confident about a path to victory,” Garcia said in a statement after the preliminary results were released. “Once all the votes are counted, I know everyone will support the Democratic nominee and that’s exactly what I intend to do.” 

This is the first year that New York City has implemented ranked-choice voting in its citywide primaries. Ranked-choice voting is only used when no contender wins more than 50 percent of the first round of votes. With 13 Democratic candidates for mayor, 12 rounds of elimination were necessary.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will face off against Curtis Sliwa in the general election later this year and will be a heavy favorite in the race. 

The BOE also released the preliminary, unofficial results for city comptroller, which have Brad Lander in the lead, with Corey Johnson 3.4 percentage points behind — a margin of just 19,979 votes before absentee ballots are tabulated. Johnson was the favorite heading into the primaries.

The BOE will release an updated tally on July 6 with absentee ballots that have been counted to that point. The official results are anticipated to come on July 12, although that date is also not set in stone, according to the BOE. 

Editor’s note: The city’s Board of Elections said there is a discrepancy in the unofficial RCV round-by-round elimination report. The BOE is working to address the issue and is asking the public, elected officials and candidates to “have patience.”