Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams appeared to take a fragile lead Tuesday in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, but it could be weeks before it becomes clear who is actually on top in the first citywide election to use ranked-choice voting.
As ballot-counting began Tuesday, a plurality of Democrats ranked Adams as their first choice in the race.
Adams, a former police captain who co-founded a leadership group for Black officers, was leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former de Blasio administration lawyer Maya Wiley.
Eric Adams is a former cop, a former Republican, and potentially doesn’t even live in NYC. Yet it looks like he’s going to likely be the city’s next mayor.
Wow. Just wow.
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) June 23, 2021
It’s uncertain as to whether that lead will hold. As many as 207,500 absentee ballots remained to be counted. Voters’ full rankings of the candidates have yet to be taken into account. It could be July before a winner emerges in the Democratic contest.
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was far behind in early returns, conceded about two hours after polls closed and vowed to work with the next mayor. In the Republican primary, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa defeated businessman Fernando Mateo. Ranked-choice voting wasn’t a factor because there were only two candidates in the race.
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) June 22, 2021
The ranked-choice system, approved for use in New York City primaries and special elections by referendum in 2019, allowed voters to rank up to five candidates on their ballot.
People are talking like Eric Adams strength in *liberal* NYC is some big repudiation of progressive. They seem to forget that this city had 20 consecutive years of jackboot Republican mayors who openly endorsed racial profiling and police brutality.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) June 23, 2021
Vote tabulation is then done in computerized rounds, with the person in last place getting eliminated each round, and ballots cast for that person getting redistributed to the surviving candidates based on voter rankings. That process continues until only two candidates are left. The one with the most votes wins.
Whoever ultimately emerges as the Democratic Mayoral candidate won’t have to put up much of a fight against Sliwa, who was formally endorsed by former NYC Mayor and Trump lackey Rudy Giuliani, who’s currently under criminal investigation in Manhattan. With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans seven to one, any Republican running for office is essentially done before they even begin.
Imagine these alternate scenarios.
1) NYT endorses Wiley for mayor
2) Media scrutiny of Eric Adams reaches the pitch it reached for Andrew Yang, and begins when it began for Yang
— Ross Barkan (@RossBarkan) June 23, 2021
The Board of Elections will begin to tally those votes on June 29 using the new system. It won’t include any absentee ballots in its analysis until July 6th, making any count before then potentially unreliable.