NYC mayoral primary blunder fuels Trump's 'conspiracy theories'

In the wake of Tuesday's massive mistake by the New York City Board of Elections, former President Donald Trump and his allies are already using it to help fuel their false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

"It gives fodder to people who are looking to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories and undermine confidence in elections," said Larry Norden, an elections security expert at the NYU Brennan Center for Justice. 

"...Vast irregularities and mistakes were made and... Eric Adams, despite an almost insurmountable lead, may not win the race," wrote Trump, who added, "Nobody will ever know who really won."

That's not true, Norden said.

"The road we go down when you start making those kinds of claims is 'maybe we shouldn't have elections at all,'" Norden said, "And I do think that's extremely dangerous."

It was more than reminiscent of Trump's complaints regarding his loss in the state of Georgia, when he repeatedly claimed he never lost the state and that the election was "rigged."

"He has put a partisan wedge in the electoral process," said Ester Fuchs, a political science professor at Columbia University, who added that Trump is only doing it to make people suspicious. When in reality she pointed out that it all comes down to a mistake — a very big one — at the hands of the Board of Elections.

"We're here, we saw it, we know what happened — [the Board of Elections] screwed up a computer program, and then they fixed it," Fuchs said. "That is not what Trump is talking about — some effort to manipulate the vote. Incompetence is not an effort to manipulate the vote."

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The other argument starting to emerge is that the error is proof that ranked choice voting was a mistake—something Fuchs called "completely ridiculous."

"This has nothing to do with ranked choice voting," she said. "Everyone knows that." 

And Norden said we can't judge the ranked choice voting process based on this mistake by the Board of Elections.

"The New York City Board of Elections, frankly, screwed up early voting when we had it for the first time in 2020," Norden said. "I certainly wouldn't argue we should get rid of early voting because they did a bad job of rolling it out."

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