Initial Results for New York City Primaries Delayed After Error in Counting Votes

Editor’s Note: This article was posted on June 30 at 5:04 p.m. It has been updated to reflect that the Board of Elections released the amended results later that evening.

The NYC Board of Elections was expected to release the first round of preliminary ranked-choice voting results on Tuesday, June 29, but they did not deliver. 

With the new ranked-choice voting system, the Board of Elections stated on their website, votes would be counted in rounds. The first report would not include absentee ballots, but thereafter each elimination round would include processed absentee ballots, with last-place candidates being eliminated each round and votes for them being counted toward the voter’s next choice until two candidates remained. 

After the initial report was released on June 29, suspicions were raised by mayoral candidate Eric Adams and others on Twitter due to the reported number differing by over 100,000 votes from the unofficial election night results.

That same evening, the Board stated there had been a discrepancy in the report.

The Board of Elections later explained that the discrepancy was the result of a failure to clear test ballots from the Election Management System. Since the test ballots were not cleared, the software that produced the unofficial ranked-choice voting results included their images in the Cast Vote Records, thus adding about 135,000 extra records.

The error has resulted in a veritable Twitter storm, with the admission and subsequent apology receiving thousands of comments and retweets. 

The amended results where released on Wednesday evening. According to this first report, candidates Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia remain in the lead at the ninth elimination round, at 358,521 (51.1 percent) and 343,766 (48.9 percent) votes respectively.

There are an additional 117,327 inactive ballots, meaning those voters did not include any remaining candidate among their ranked choices. The New York Times estimates that about 124,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted.

Top image: Wally Gobetz via Creative Commons

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