Uh-Uh. Woe at BOE (Board of Elections). The mayoral election was already stacked with a number of complexities, now comes an even more troubling one as the BOE on Tuesday listed and then withdrew tabulations due to a counting error.
Initially, the BOE released numbers that indicated Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, leading the primary pack with 51.1% of the vote after 11 rounds of RCV (Ranked-Choice Voting), which eliminated all the others in the race but Kathryn Garcia, the former commissioner of the sanitation department.
That tally was corrected giving Garcia 48.9% of the vote, and trailing Adams by nearly 16,000 votes. The new count narrowed the race significantly and prompted an immediate response from Adams whose campaign team first detected the discrepancy. “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,” a spokesperson for Adams said. “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.”
“Today’s mistake by the Board of Election was unfortunate,” Adams said. “It is critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time.”
In effect, the BOE had added 135,000 pre-election “test” ballots that had not been removed from the computer. “It was determined that ballot images used for testing were not cleared from the Election Management System,” a statement from the BOE cited. “The Board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measures to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported.” The board announced it would post new results on June 30.
Interestingly, the snafu first noticed by the Adams team gives a boost to Garcia who found the mistake “deeply troubling” and called for a complete “explanation” from the board.
Maya Wiley, who placed third in the contest, put the situation in historical context, noting the snafu follows “generations of failure that have gone unaddressed at the board. Sadly it is impossible to be surprised.”
How all of this will play out in the long run remains undetermined with still a considerable number of absentee ballots to be tabulated, though even with this count there may be new issues to unravel.