NYC Democratic mayoral race tightens after new vote totals released

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New York Mayoral Election Primary
FILE PHOTO: An “I voted” sticker is seen in a privacy booth of the polling station, during the New York City mayoral election primary, in New York City, U.S., June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

June 30, 2021

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) -New vote tallies in New York City’s Democratic mayoral race released on Wednesday showed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ lead narrowing considerably over his nearest rivals, a day after election officials threw the contest into confusion by posting, and then removing, erroneous vote totals.

The latest figures put Kathryn Garcia, the city’s former sanitation chief, only slightly behind Adams, with Maya Wiley, a former MSNBC analyst and civil rights lawyer, in a close third.

The numbers do not include any of the approximately 125,000 as-yet uncounted absentee ballots – enough to alter the final results, which are not expected to be released until mid-July.

Adams held a substantial lead on Election Day eight days ago, based on the first-choice ballots from New Yorkers who voted in person.

But this year’s Democratic mayoral primary for the first time is using ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference.

Under the system, the election results are tabulated via a series of instant run-offs: the last-place candidate is eliminated, with his or her votes redistributed to voters’ second choice, and the process repeats until there is a majority winner.

After eight rounds, Adams had 41% of the vote, with Garcia just under 30% and Wiley fewer than 400 votes behind. In the 9th and final round, Adams finished with 51%, while Garcia stood at 49%.

The winner of the primary will be a heavy favorite in November’s general election against Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels civilian patrol group. Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in the United States’ most populous city by a more than a six-to-one ratio.

In a statement, Adams’ campaign said it was confident he would remain the leader after all ballots are counted. Garcia said she was “confident in our path to victory” and urged New Yorkers to stay patient as ballots are tabulated.

Wiley issued a statement calling the election “wide open,” citing the number of absentee ballots remaining, and called on the city Board of Elections to count all votes openly after Tuesday’s “embarrassing debacle.”

(Reporting by Joseph AxEditing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall)