The three remaining contenders in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary have all filed lawsuits demanding a potential recount of the June 22 ranked-choice election vote, the winner of which has still not been determined.
“It is without precedent in a New York City mayoral race or any citywide office,” said election attorney Stanley Schlein, who represents former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in her legal action against the NYC Board of Elections (BOE).
Civil-rights lawyer Maya Wiley sued Thursday in Brooklyn state court requesting that all the ballots that were “cast or attempted to be cast” be preserved for a possible review.
“This is a wide open race and as is standard procedure, my campaign filed a petition to preserve the right to challenge the results should we believe it is necessary,” Wiley said in a statement Friday.
Brooklyn Borough president and former police captain Eric Adams, who still leads the Democratic-primary contest, filed a similar suit Wednesday. Adams outpaces Garcia by just over two percentage points, amounting to 14,755 votes, as of the latest ranked-choice ballot drop, but there are many absentee ballots still outstanding and waiting to be counted.
The candidate lawsuits come after the NYC BOE admitted to erroneously updating vote totals by accidentally adding 135,000 test ballots.
The BOE released its statement after the candidates’ campaigns noticed a sudden surge in the vote total of 100,000 plus, shrinking Adams winning margin significantly. Before the BOE published an explanation for its blunder, Adams questioned the “discrepancies” and “irregularities” in the results after losing ground.
Adams objected to the original introduction of the ranked-choice system for the NYC mayoral election, arguing that it would complicate the voting process and disenfranchise minority voters.
The winner of the Democratic primary is favored over Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa given the strong Democratic majority in the city. New York City has 3.7 million registered Democrats, 1.08 million Independents, and about 566,000 Republicans as of February 2021.