NYC election officials mistakenly include 135,000 practice ballots in mayoral primary count

The Donlon Report

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — New York City election officials created doubt about the integrity of the city’s mayoral primary Tuesday when a failure to clear old data from a computer system initially led to inaccurate vote tallies in the closely-watched contest.

Tuesday was supposed to be the first time the city’s Board of Elections released results based on the new ranked choice voting system, which allows people to rank up to five candidates in order of preference, after voting ended June 22.

But the election was thrown into disarray after the board posted incorrect preliminary vote counts and then withdrew them hours later.

The board apologized for the mistake, which involved the accidental inclusion of 135,000 test ballot images in the vote totals. The board insisted the new counts were accurate and said it was now doing more checks and reviews before releasing more data.

“We will do so with a heightened sense that we must regain the trust of New Yorkers,” board President Frederic Umane and Secretary Miguelina Camilo said in a statement.

Revised vote counts show Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams maintaining a thin lead. The corrected results still don’t paint a complete picture of the race, as nearly 125,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

But the error also has the potential to do damage to the reputation of ranked choice voting, a system the city is using for the first time this year. Critics said the mishap proved that the board was not equipped to handle the new ranked choice system.

“Yet again, the fundamental structural flaws of the Board of Elections are on display,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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