NY mayor race in chaos, thousands of test ballots counted, candidate questions 'irregularities'

The city's board of elections included 135,000 test ballots in tally, then said the mistake was corrected.
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Eric Adams, New York City Democratic mayoral candidate.
Eric Adams, New York City Democratic mayoral candidate May 07, 2021 in New York City.
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The election for the next mayor of New York City is in a state of confusion after the city's board of elections released a new tally late Tuesday in the Democratic primary, then abruptly removed the tabulations citing a "discrepancy" due to counting thousands of test ballots.

The board said the sample ballot images were used to test its ranked-choice voting software, according to The New York Times.

"The Board of Elections conducts rigorous and mandatory pre-qualified testing for every election. It has determined that ballot images used for testing were not cleared from the Election Management System," the group tweeted. "It included both test and election night results producing approximately 135,000 additional records."

This was the city's first try in implementing a ranked-choice system, a voting system that allows voters to list up to five candidates in their preferential order. This allows voters to still vote for preferred candidates if their first choice is eliminated.

The previous vote tabulations had shown that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' lead had narrowed, resulting in him question the election.

"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,’ Adams said before the error was corrected. He later called the mistake "unfortunate."

The board said it has removed all test ballots and re-uploaded and re-tabulated the election results. The new results are expected to be released early next week.

The board has faced years of criticism about its competence, according to CNN.

"The BOE's release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation," said Kathryn Garcia, a former city sanitation commission trailing Adams. "Every ranked choice and absentee vote must be counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and our government."