After a major blunder by New York City’s Board of Elections Tuesday, where an incorrect tally of votes was released, Eric Adams still holds a slight lead in the mayoral race according to revised figures released Wednesday.
Adams is currently leading former Sanitation Department head Kathryn Garcia by around two percentage points or 14,755 votes, and lawyer Maya Wiley is only 350 votes behind Garcia. But the three candidates all remain in contention for the top spot, with some 125,000 absentee ballots yet to count.
The revised figures came a day after a an egregious error by the Board of Elections, where it mistakenly included 135,000 test ballots in a vote tally that it released to the public, The New York Times reported.
The mishap has stoked serious concerns about whether voters will have faith in the city’s electoral process and the agency’s ability to run fair elections, the newspaper reported. The Board of Elections has long faced calls for reform due to years of disfunction, and issues in the 2020 Presidential Election only amplified those calls.
After Tuesday’s blunder, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the legislative body needed to move urgently to pass voting reforms.
“The situation in New York City is a national embarrassment and must be dealt with promptly and properly. In the coming weeks, the Senate will be holding hearings on this situation and will seek to pass reform legislation as a result at the earliest opportunity.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated the need for an overhaul saying that “yet again, the fundamental structural flaws of the Board of Elections are on display,” and adding “an immediate, complete recanvass” of the vote count and “a clear explanation of what went wrong” was needed.
“Going forward there must be a complete structural rebuild of the board.”
The Board of Elections had already faced criticism over its decision to release tallies under the new ranked-choice voting system before the absentee ballots had been counted, with strategists warning the incomplete counts could stoke confusion.
The final result of the race isn’t expected until mid-July.
Board of Elections commissioners issued a statement on Wednesday apologizing for the uncertainty. “We have implemented another layer of review and quality control before publishing information going forward,” the statement said.
The commissioners said the board “must regain the trust of New Yorkers,” and said it would “continue to hold ourselves accountable and apologize to New York City voters for any confusion.” The statement emphasized that the issues with Tuesday’s figures were not related to the rank-choice voting system, but were human error.
The top three mayoral candidates all stressed the importance of voters needing to have faith in the electoral process, and all released statements urging patience while the remaining votes are counted.
Both Adams and Garcia have said they have turned to the courts to seek the involvement of a judge in finalizing the election results, if necessary.
Wiley declined to comment on any potential legal proceedings, The New York Times reported.
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