NYC Mayoral Primary Thrown Into Disarray After 135,000 “Test Ballots” Included in Vote Count

NYC Mayoral Primary Thrown Into Disarray After 135,000 “Test Ballots” Included in Vote Count
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Elections officials in New York City have admitted that they mistakenly included 135,000 “test” ballots in the city’s Democratic primary election results, causing confusion that has left the results of the tight race in doubt.

From The New York Post:

The botching of the city’s first ranked-choice election was first flagged by front-runner Eric Adams, who pointed out that preliminary results from the Board of Elections showed that 941,832 votes were cast for the Democratic mayoral nomination, a huge increase from the 799,827 that were counted on primary day last week.

The BOE clarified its screwup in a tweet Tuesday night.

“It has been determined that ballot images used for testing were not cleared from the Election Management System (EMS),” the board said of the fiasco.

“When the cast votes were extracted for the first pull of RCV {ranked choice voting} results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,” the mea culpa continued.

While the board apologized for the error, it is unclear where the counting will go from here. While Adams is narrowly leading former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia 51.1% to 48.9% after 11 rounds of counting, the city has still yet to count more than more than 124,000 absentee ballots that were sent by mail:

“Today’s mistake by the Board of Elections was unfortunate,” Adams tweeted in response. “It’s critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time.”

“New Yorkers want free and fair elections, which is why we overwhelmingly voted to enact ranked choice voting,” Garcia said in a press release. “The BOE’s release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.”

Former President Donald Trump was quick to respond to the news, making comparisons to the 2020 presidential election.

Ballot mishaps, especially the slow counting of mail-in ballots, have plagued New York in recent elections. During the 2020 election, the state generated controversy when a tightly contested Congressional race had to be settled in court after months of attempts at counting ballots.

New York City specifically has had issues with primary races, taking weeks to count mail-in ballots that were cast during last year’s primary elections.


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