The New York City Board of Elections said it would start tallying the results of its mayoral race anew after accidentally including over 130,000 fake test ballots in its count, CNN reports.
The mayoral primary was the first in the city to use ranked-choice voting, allowing voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the last-place finisher is eliminated and their supporters’ next choice is reallocated until someone wins a majority.
Election night results showed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leading top challengers Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation chief, and Maya Wiley, the leading progressive in the race, by double-digits. But after the Board of Elections reallocated the ranked-choice preferences of Election Day voters, its unofficial results showed Adams leading Garcia by just two percentage points with over 125,000 absentee ballots left to count.
Not so fast:
Adams quickly called out the Board of Elections after the initial ranked-choice results, which are not supposed to affect the first round of results, inexplicably added 135,000 votes to the first round.
The Board of Elections initially said there was a “discrepancy” in the results and later issued a statement acknowledging that it had mistakenly included 135,000 sample ballots used to test the system in its count.
"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 agency said on Twitter. "The cast vote record will be re-generated and the RCV rounds will be re-tabulated."
Board of Elections under fire:
The New York City Board of Elections has long been criticized for its handling of election administration. Mayoral candidates slammed the board for the massive screw-up.
"This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed," Wiley said in a statement. "Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times."
"The BOE's release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation," Garcia said. "Every ranked choice and absentee vote must be counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and our government."