(NEW YORK) — The New York Board of Elections abruptly removed the unofficial vote counts for New York City’s Democratic primary for mayor from its website Tuesday night after the agency said it was investigating a “discrepancy” in the report.
The preliminary results, released hours earlier by the city, showed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams maintained a lead in the preliminary vote count for New York City’s Democratic primary for mayor, though suggested a closer-than-expected race that could swing in a different direction when all votes are counted.
Adams called the preliminary results into question.
“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 following the release of the since-pulled report. “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.”
Following Adams’ comments, the Board of Elections said in a statement on Twitter that it was aware of “a discrepancy” in the report and was investigating. It later said Tuesday’s initial release included test ballots, which caused the discrepancy.
“When the cast vote records were extracted for the first pull of RCV results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional errors,” the BOE said in a statement.
The Board of Elections website now says the unofficial ranked choice results will start on Wednesday.
The now-forthcoming report, which isn’t a final tabulation, will not include absentee and affidavit ballots — only in-person votes. The Board of Elections said over 130,000 absentee ballots across parties were returned as of June 28, while over 221,000 had been sent out.
According to New York City Board of Elections officials, the final results from New York City’s first ranked-choice-voting primary, a hotly contested Democratic contest, may not be tabulated until July.
In ranked-choice voting, voters can list up to five candidates. If no candidate gets more than 50% in the first round, voting tabulation continues in additional rounds. The candidate who places last in each round is eliminated, and those votes are shifted to the voter’s next-choice candidate.
In the unofficial results for the final round of ranked-choice voting that were released but then promptly pulled on Tuesday, former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio Maya Wiley slipped to third place, while former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia moved into second place.
In the new results for the first round, Adams had 28.8% of the vote, with Wiley trailing behind with 19.9% and Garcia with 17.8%. That shifted since the unofficial round 1 election night results released on June 23, where Adams had over 30% of that night’s count. At that point, Wiley had around 177,722 votes (about 22%) and Garcia had 253,234 (about 19%).
The pulled unofficial counts also showed Adams projected to win the primary with 51.1% of the vote (more than 368,000) and Garcia likely getting about 48.9% (over 352,000). In the penultimate round of ranked-choice voting listed on the pulled report, Wiley was at 29.3% and Garcia was at 29.8%, with all other candidates eliminated.
No one can be formally eliminated at this stage, and the vote counts and percentages still could change.
“We know that this is going to be layers,” Adams said on election night. “But there’s something else we know that New York City said: ‘Our first choice is Eric Adams.'”
During a press conference on June 23, Wiley reiterated her support for ranked-choice voting and said, “We now must count every vote. Every single person who showed up at these polls needs to know their vote counts.”
In a statement released Tuesday before the report was pulled, Wiley added, in part: “Democracy, as John Lewis said, is an act. And New York City residents engaged in one of the central acts of democracy! They voted. And they acted when they chose overwhelmingly to adopt ranked-choice voting.”
Garcia wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the latest results will “give us a snapshot — a fuller but still incomplete picture of the final results… Let’s be patient. Democracy is worth it.”
Following the report’s release Tuesday, Lindsey Green, a spokesperson for Garcia, told ABC News that they “feel confident, but there are obviously over 120,000 absentee votes still to be counted and we are going to have patience and wait for every vote to be counted.”
Adams or Wiley would become New York City’s second Black mayor.
Adams campaigned on his experience as a former New York Police Department police officer and called for both a crackdown on crime as well as police reform.
Wiley has called for reallocating NYPD funds to policing alternatives, while Garcia has called for more moderate reforms to change NYPD culture and operations. Crime and policing have been leading issues in the election amid both an uptick in crime and calls for police reform.
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, considered an early front-runner in the race, conceded on election night — before preliminary results were released.
The eventual winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican candidate and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who led the Republican primary with over 50% of the vote.
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