Board of Elections’ new ranked-choice voting calculations have Eric Adams ahead in mayoral race

Campaign watchers observe the canvass of absentee, military, special and affidavit ballots Queens Borough Hall on June 28, 2021. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

One day after admitting to releasing inaccurate results regarding its preliminary ranked-choice voting (RCV) calculations, the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) unveiled numbers for citywide races that its commissioners “can say with certainty” are accurate. 

The newly released numbers show that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is leading the mayoral race with 51.1 percent of the vote (358,521 votes), while former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia trails with 48.9 percent (343,766 votes). All other candidates are considered to be eliminated, though there are still more than 100,000 absentee ballots left to be counted. 

Along with the updated numbers, the BOE on Wednesday night released a statement and called the initial ranked-choice voting reporting error “unacceptable” while apologizing to the voters and to the campaigns for the confusion.

“Let us be clear: RCV was not the problem, rather a human error that could have been avoided. We have implemented another layer of review and quality control before publishing information going forward,” said President Frederic M. Umane and Secretary Miguelina Camilo, on behalf of the commissioners of the BOE.

“We can say with certainty that the election night vote counts were and are accurate and the RCV data put out today is correct as well. As we continue to count absentee ballots and run further RCV tabulations, we will do so with a heightened sense that we must regain the trust of New Yorkers. We will continue to hold ourselves accountable and apologize to New York City voters for any confusion.”

Adams’ campaign released a statement expressing confidence after the BOE announced the new results.

“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, more affordable place,” the statement read. “There are still absentee ballots to be counted that we believe favor Eric — and we are confident we will be the final choice of New Yorkers when every vote is tallied.”

Meanwhile, Garcia also expressed confidence regarding the results, despite her trailing Adams. 

“While we remain confident in our path to victory, we are taking nothing for granted and encourage everyone to patiently wait for over 124,000 absentee ballots to be counted and included in the ranked choice voting tabulation,” Garcia said. “Every vote is important and deserves to be counted. New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted to enact ranked choice voting and participated in it by ranking multiple candidates in our City’s first ranked-choice election. Every candidate should respect the democratic process and be committed to supporting whomever the voters have selected to be the Democratic nominee for Mayor. We look forward to the final tabulation in this historic election.”

Additionally, third-place candidate Maya Wiley said the election is “wide open.”

“With more than 120,000 absentee ballots left to count – in addition to provisional ballots and potential recanvassing of results – this election is still wide open,” she said.

As for the other contested citywide contest, Councilman Brad Lander is leading the race for city comptroller, having secured 51.9 percent of the vote (296,081 votes). Council Speaker Corey Johnson trails with 48.1 percent of the vote (274,949). 

In a tweet Tuesday night, the BOE blamed the initial error on not clearing test votes from their Election Management System before adding up the round-by-round RCV results. 

This led to an increase of more than 140,000 votes — or 941,832 ballots counted — when there were only 799,827 counted, those counted during the early voting period and on Election Day.

“[The] board staff has removed all test ballot images from the system and will upload election night results, cross-referencing against election night reporting software for verification. The case vote will be re-generated and the RVC rounds will be re-tabulated,” the BOE tweeted at the time.

The final results are expected to be released before July 12. 

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