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Eric Adams Says Vote Counting Raises ‘Serious Questions’ after Losing Ground In NYC Mayor’s Race

Eric Adams, Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor, speaks during a campaign appearance in Brooklyn, New York. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

In a statement released Tuesday, New York City mayoral race frontrunner and Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams questioned the update in the ranked-choice voting election results, which shrank his winning margin significantly.

“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 wrote.

The candidate demanded the board explain apparent discrepancies in the most recent dump of ranked-choice voting results.

“We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Rank 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,” the statement read.

As of Wednesday, Adams secured a comfortable lead in the NYC mayoral primary with other contenders Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia competing for second place. As of the latest vote count Tuesday, Garcia has jumped up to occupy that spot and now trails Adams by only two percentage points, or 15,908 votes. Many absentee ballots are still outstanding and waiting to be counted, so the final outcome may not be confirmed for a few weeks until likely mid-July.

The NYC mayoral ranked-choice update is promising for the Garcia campaign and represents a significant improvement in her election performance, given that she only garnered 19.5 percent of the vote with 84 percent of ballots tallied last Wednesday.

As of early evening Tuesday, presumably in response to the Adams statement, NYC Board of Elections (NYCBOE) tweeted a notice acknowledging a discrepancy in the “unofficial RCV round by round elimination report.”

“We are aware there is a discrepancy in the unofficial RCV round by round elimination report. We are working with our RCV technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred. We ask the public, elected officials and candidates to have patience,” NYCBOE said.

This is the first year NYC has used a ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, in which voters list candidates in order of preference in a sequence e.g. first, second, third. Under RCV, a candidate who did not achieve majority support could potentially get elected.

When the debut of this method was announced for the NYC mayoral primary, Adams warned that it would convolute and breed dysfunction in the voting process and therefore indirectly exclude minority voters from participating.

“Everyone knows that every layer you put in place in the process, you lose Black and brown voters and participation,” Adams said in an interview with Politico in November 2020. “We can’t disenfranchise those voters.”

Advocates of the system have claimed the opposite, however, citing success stories and studies in California where ranked-choice voting has improved the prospects of non-white candidates.

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