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Official results in New York City’s mayoral primary race are expected this week, but with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams likely to become his party’s nominee, the focus becomes about the city’s first ranked choice election and how the process went down for voters.
In the Board of Election’s latest update, Adams held less than a 1% lead over former sanitation department head Kathryn Garcia. That’s just over 7,100 votes ahead of Garcia’s ranked choice voting numbers and Adams had already declared victory earlier this month.
Those votes could be reviewed because Adams, Garcia and third-runner up Maya Wiley have all filed lawsuits seeking the right to do so after election officials made an error in their first tally. The BOE mistakenly included 135,000 test ballots that were never cleared from the computer system, and that was just one reason why critics are questioning the use of ranked-choice voting.
New York State Assembly lawmakers held a hearing Monday to discuss the challenges of the new voting system as critics say efforts to educate communities of color in multiple languages about ranked choice fell short.
BOE officials were not in attendance and a spokesperson said they didn’t have time to prepare for the meeting.
“This short notice did not leave us adequate time to draft testimony. Staff is preparing to certify the election on Tuesday and commence manual hand counts in two council districts. We will provide written testimony after certification,” the spokesperson for the BOE said in a statement.
Gun violence continues to plague New York City this year, with seven people shot this weekend. Candidates for mayor have plans out to curb the gun violence. NBC New York’s Gus Rosendale reports.
Kirsten John Foy, the Northeast Regional Director of the National Action Network, said at the meeting that the system is a “nefarious” and “intentional” plan to dilute the votes of Black voters.
An exit poll by Common Cause/NY and Rank the Vote NYC, an organization founded in 2019 to bring Ranked Choice Voting to New York City, released in July found that 95% of voters found their ballot simple to complete and that 77% of New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future local elections.
The poll also found that 83% of voters ranked at least two candidates on their ballots in the mayoral primary. With 42% of voters ranking all five candidates, there wasn’t a large disparity between the demographics as 43% of black voters, 40% of Hispanic voters and 45% of white voters filling all the available ranked choices.
Crystal Hudson, the Democratic nominee for New York City Council, District 35, voiced her support for ranked choice on Monday, saying in an op-ed for the New York Daily News that the new system has “historically resulted in more wins for women and candidates of color.”
“Our victories represent our broad-based coalitions across our diverse constituencies, but also the power that ranked-choice voting gives to the people. All of that should be here to stay,” Hudson said in a tweet.