The Board of Elections in New York City on Tuesday pulled a tally of votes they posted on the website for the Democratic mayoral primary after citing “discrepancy” in the numbers.
The board later said they failed to remove sample ballots used to test its ranked-choice voting software.
The story: The City Board of Elections released numbers on Tuesday that showed former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garci nearly closing the gap to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ lead in the primary. This gave Adams a two-point lead.
Adams, who is a former NYPD captain, had 51% of the vote to Garcia’s 49%, according to those numbers.
Several hours later, the board removed the updated vote totals from its website, saying there has been a “discrepancy” in the counting process. It said in a tweet that they are “working with our RCV technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred.”
The board later released a statement, explaining that it had included 135,000 test vote records, which had not been deleted from the board’s management system, in the initial tally by mistake.
“When the cast vote records were extracted for the first pull of RCV results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,” the board explained.
“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 board said in the statement. “The cast vote record will be re-generated and the RCV rounds will be re-tabulated.”
“The Board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measure to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported,” the statement added.
Worth noting: Adams was among the first to raise concerns about the now-discredited tally.
“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,” he said in a statement. “We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Ranked Choice Voting projection.”
The board acknowledged a “discrepancy” after his comments.
The candidates’ response: Adams later said the mistake was “unfortunate” but praised the Board of Election for admitting the error.
“It is critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time,” he said.
Garcia said the inaccurate results were “deeply troubling” and called for more transparency and a “complete explanation.”
“Every ranked choice and absentee vote must bet counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and government,” Garcia said.
Civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley said the error “is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed.”
“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,” Wiley tweeted.
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