Fake votes counted in Democratic primary for NYC mayor, latest results withdrawn

New York City election officials say results released on Tuesday in the Democratic mayoral primary were corrupted by test data never cleared from a computer system.

The election officials retracted their latest report on the vote count after the problem was discovered.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams surpassed the 50% threshold but his overall lead has shrunk significantly in the unofficial tally on Tuesday after 11 rounds of ranked choice vote tabulation but his lead had shrunk from the first count on election day.

In a statement, the Adams campaign noted that these initial ranked choice voting results appeared to show a discrepancy between the number of votes from primary night and the current tally, raising "serious questions" that the Board of Education needs to answer. 

"We remain confident that Eric Adams will be the next mayor of New York because he put together a historic five-borough working class coalition of New Yorkers to make our city a safer, fairer, more affordable place."

On Twitter, the BOE stated it was aware of the discrepancy. 

"We are working with our RCV technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred," the BOE tweeted. "We ask the public, elected officials and candidates to have patience."

Just before 10:30 p.m. it released a another statement saying that 135,000 ballot images it had put into its computer system for testing purposes had never been cleared.

"The Board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measures to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported," it said in the statement.

The results initially released Tuesday, and then withdrawn, were incomplete to begin with because they didn’t include any of the nearly 125,000 absentee ballots cast in the Democratic primary.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the error shows the fundamental structural flaws of the Board of Elections. 

"There must be an immediate, complete recanvass of the BOE’s vote count and a clear explanation of what went wrong. The record number of voters who turned out this election deserve nothing less," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.

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Vote tabulation is done in rounds. In each round, the candidate in last place is eliminated. Votes cast ranking that candidate first are then redistributed to those voters' second choices.

That process repeats until there are only two candidates left. The one with the most votes wins.

The Democratic primary winner will be the prohibitive favorite in the general election against Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels.

Either Adams or Wiley would be the second Black mayor of New York City, and either Garcia or Wiley would be the first woman mayor.

Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who opposed the "defund the police" movement and said that under his leadership, the city could find a way to fight crime while also combating a legacy of racial injustice in policing.

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He was previously a state senator before becoming Brooklyn's Borough President, a job in which he lacks lawmaking power, but handles some constituent services and discretionary city spending.

Wiley, 57, served as counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and previously chaired a civilian panel that investigates complaints of police misconduct.

A former legal analyst for MSNBC, she ran as a progressive who would cut $1 billion from the police budget and divert it to other city agencies.

Garcia, 51, is a city government veteran who ran as a nonideological crisis manager well-suited to guiding New York out of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Garcia ran the Department of Sanitation from 2014 until leaving last September to explore a run for mayor. De Blasio also tapped Garcia to run an emergency food distribution program during the coronavirus pandemic after earlier appointing her interim chair of the city’s embattled public housing system. She earlier served as the chief operating officer of the city's Department of Environmental Protection, responsible for water and sewer systems.

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang attracted wide media interest when he joined the race in January and led in early polls, but his support dwindled by primary day. He has already conceded defeat.

With The Associated Press