Eric Adams’ lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City narrowed to just over two points, according to preliminary tabulations from the Board of Elections in Round 11 of ranked-choice voting, but the Brooklyn Borough president and former police chief is raising some questions.
Adams now leads the primary with 51.1% of the vote barely edging out former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who has 48.9% of the vote, with the other candidates now eliminated. Adams leads Garcia by 16,000 votes, though 124,000 absentee ballots have not yet been counted, meaning the race is far from over.
But Adams said that the vote total on Tuesday was 100,000 more than the total counted on election night. The NYC Board of Elections acknowledged a “discrepancy” in Tuesday’s ranked choice voting count.
“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 in a statement, adding that he remains “confident” he’ll be the city’s next mayor.
“We are aware there is a discrepancy in the unofficial RCV round by round elimination report,” the NYC Board of Elections wrote on Twitter after Adams’ statement. “We are working with our RCV technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred. We ask the public, elected officials and candidates to have patience.”
Under New York City’s new ranked-choice voting system, voters can choose their top five candidates in order. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round, election officials knock off the candidate with the least amount of first-choice votes and count the second-choice option on the ballots that ranked the losing candidate highest.
In the 10th round of elimination, Adams had been in first with 41% of votes, Garcia in second with 30% and progressive, former Mayor Bill de Blasio staffer Maya Wiley had 29%. Garcia received a significant boost from Wiley’s elimination in the 11th round.
Round 11 was the final round of elimination and the certified vote tally will be released after the tens of thousands of absentee ballots are counted.
“Even with today’s ranked choice report we are still waiting for more than 120,000 absentee ballots to be counted and we are confident about a path to victory,” Garcia said in a statement following the new vote tabulation. “Once all the votes are counted, I know everyone will support the Democratic nominee and that’s exactly what I intend to do. We look forward to the final results. Democracy is worth waiting for.”
Elections officials began counting the absentee ballots Monday, and plan to release a new ranked choice tally next Tuesday. Of the 124,000 ballots, 55,000 are from districts that backed Adams and 39,000 are from districts that backed Garcia, according to a New York Post analysis.
Andrew Yang, the mayoral candidate with the most nationwide name recognition, conceded the race on election night. Other notable candidates, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire and nonprofit executive Dianne Morales, have all been knocked off.
Crime was clearly at the top of the minds of Big Apple voters, as Adams ran a campaign squarely centered on cracking down on violence. Adams and Garcia both pledged to add more cops to NYC subways, which have been at the center of a rise in gruesome attacks over the past year.
Adams, roundly rejected the calls of some candidates — and tens of thousands of New Yorkers who took to the street last summer — to “defund the police,” though he often notes that as a Black man he’s been beaten by NYPD officers and is in support of law enforcement reform.
Adams was endorsed by the New York Post and Garcia was endorsed by the New York Times.