Donald Trump has reacted with glee to the chaos gripping New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, after election officials there admitted that 135,000 test ballots had been mistakenly counted as real ones.
‘The New York City Election, even though an embarrassment and total mess, is far better and more accurate than my 2020 Presidential Election—so what are people complaining about!’ Trump said in a statement on Wednesday, linking the pandemonium in New York to his unproven claims of election fraud.
Tuesday night’s revelation of the botched tally came after frontrunner Eric Adams saw his lead shrink to a mere two points over rival Kathryn Garcia in the 11th round of counting in the city’s complex new ranked-choice voting system.
The Board of Elections abruptly withdrew the unofficial tally as night fell, later explaining in a statement at 10.30pm that 135,000 ballot images that it had put into its computer system for testing purposes had never been cleared.
The BOE offered no information on how the blunder might affect the finally tally, or whether it helped or hurt one candidate in particular.
‘Just like in the 2020 Presidential Election, it was announced overnight in New York City that vast irregularities and mistakes were made and that Eric Adams, despite an almost insurmountable lead, may not win the race,’ Trump said in a statement.
‘The fact is, based on what has happened, nobody will ever know who really won. The Presidential Race was a Scam and a Hoax with numbers and results being found that are massive, shocking, and determinative,’ he continued.
‘Watch the mess you are about to see in New York City, it will go on forever. They should close the books and do it all over again, the old-fashioned way, when we had results that were accurate and meaningful,’ gloated Trump.
Donald Trump has reacted with glee to the chaos gripping New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, after election officials there admitted mistakenly counting test ballots
Tuesday night’s revelation of the botched tally came after frontrunner Eric Adams (above) saw his lead shrink to a mere two points over rival Kathryn Garcia
After 11 rounds of counting, the NYC Board of Elections released these results on Wednesday, but later withdrew them and said they were wrong after a massive blunder
In linking the New York City primary, which in the heavily Democrat city will likely determine the final outcome, to his own election loss, Trump again sought to sow doubt over the presidential vote, which he has protested in many courts to no avail.
Tuesday’s results, before they were withdrawn, saw Adams, a former police officer and Brooklyn borough president, leading former Sanitation Commissioner Garcia 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.
The difference was 15,908 votes, without counting nearly 125,000 absentee ballots, the officials said.
Yet hours later, on Tuesday night, the board released a statement, explaining that it had failed to remove sample ballot images used to test its ranked-choice voting software.
When the board ran the program, it counted ‘both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,’ the statement said.
The bungle was a black mark on New York City’s first major foray into ranked choice voting and seemed to confirm worries that the Board of Elections, which is jointly run by Democrats and Republicans, was unprepared to implement the new system.
Many of those test votes were handed to candidates who’ve since quit the race, although Eric Adams also received a large number of them, The New York Times reported.
It is unclear how removing the test votes will change the gap in the race between Adams and Garcia, with the ranked choice process further complicating the ultimate count.
There has so far been no suggestion that the primary vote will have to be held again.
The ranked-choice numbers, the BOE said, would be tabulated again.
They said on Tuesday afternoon that 941,832 votes have been tallied and 124,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted.
The first absentee ballots results are not expected to be tallied until July 6.
Kathryn Garcia, hoping to be the first female mayor of New York, was edging closer to Adams with the 11th tally. It is unclear how Tuesday’s mistake will affect the results
Adams in a statement said he and his team ‘appreciate the Board’s transparency and acknowledgment of their error’.
Adams said: ‘Today’s mistake by the Board of Elections was unfortunate.
‘It is critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time.’
His main rival, Garcia, said it was ‘deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.’
Wiley said that it was ‘the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed.’
She said it was ‘impossible to be surprised’ at the chaos, and demanded reform of the Board of Elections.
‘Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times,’ she said.
On social media, some people were saying that the system was too complicated.
‘Some personal news: I’ve read like 20 articles about the NYC ranked choice election and I still don’t understand it,’ tweeted sports reporter Mina Kimes.
Nicholas Dawes, executive editor of The City, noted that his publication reported a month before voting began that there was chaos.
‘Key questions remain unanswered on how the results will be tallied and disclosed,’ the site reported.
Josh Kraushaar, a columnist at National Journal, said it was wrong to blame ranked voting, however.
He said it was ‘NY’s rickety voting system’ that was at fault.
Others used the fiasco to claim that Donald Trump’s criticism of the November presidential election was vindicated.
Yossi Gestetner, a political commentator, told his 41,000 followers: ‘The NYC Board of Elections counted 135,000 test ballots together with real ballots and released “results” without anyone at BOE noticing.
‘Trump lost the WH by 43,000 votes spread in 3 states and he is corroding democracy if he has concerns about the integrity of those numbers.’
Another person said: ‘States need to start 2020 recount ASAP.
‘Somebody who runs and ownes (sic) machines decides in advance who is the winner, Trump won.’
Another said: ‘The person who should be the HAPPIEST about the incredible #NYC election vote count is now-suspended #lawyer Rudy #Giuliani, whose allegations on behalf of Trump 2020 campaign now do not sound as outlandish given the scope of the snafu admitted to by city board of elections!’
Tuesday’s results led to the elimination of AOC-backed liberal candidate Maya Wiley who fell to third place. It is unclear whether the 135,000 erroneous ballots would affect Wiley.
Prior to Tuesdays ranked choice results, Adams had a convincing lead with 31.7 per cent of first place votes.
Adams immediately questioned the initial ranked choice voting results, which he said had ‘irregularities.’
‘The vote total just released by the Board of Elections is 100,000-plus more than the total announced on election night, raising serious questions,’ he said in a statement on Tuesday.
‘We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Ranked Choice Voting projection.’
His lead led former candidate Andrew Yang, who was once a favorite to win, to declare: ‘It’s almost mathematically impossible for Eric Adams not to win.’
Yang spoke on Monday, before the voting numbers were released.
‘I think that there are going to be people who have different candidates in different orders such that it’s almost mathematically impossible for Eric Adams not to win, based upon the lead that he has,’ Yang said, on the latest episode of his podcast Yang Speaks.
‘Based on the numbers, it seemed like a near certainty that Eric Adams will be the Democratic nominee,’ Yang said.
Adams has not declared victory but said the early lead was encouraging.
‘If the Democratic Party fails to recognize what we did here in New York, they’re going to have a problem in the midterm elections, and they’re going to have a problem in the presidential election,’ Adams said at a press conference on Thursday.
Adams, a former NYPD officer, has vowed to bring back the controversial stop-and-frisk searches that were axed because they gave way to racial profiling. He also wants to reinstate the anti-crime unit that was disbanded last year at the height of the BLM movement.
Wiley, a former de Blasio administration official, was endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren.
She ran on a ‘defund the police’ platform and promised voters a city-wide affordable healthcare plan in New York City and ran on a plan to build more affordable housing and more schools.
Adams (pictured) a former NYPD officer, has vowed to bring back the controversial stop-and-frisk searches that were axed because they gave way to racial profiling.
Kathryn Garcia, (pictured) the former sanitation commissioner, promised to raise age of police recruitment from 21 to 25 and to make NYC rely fully on renewable energy
During the final debate between the candidates, Wiley said she did not think more police were needed on the subway, where crime is escalating.
Garcia, who was endorsed by the New York Times, promised to raise age of police recruitment from 21 to 25 and to make NYC rely fully on renewable energy.
New York City’s new ranked-choice voting process kicked in after no candidate secured more than 50 per cent of first-choice votes from those who headed to the polls last Tuesday or cast their ballot in the early voting period.
Voters can rank up to five candidates in the mayor’s race, with the Democratic nominee now set to be decided through an elimination process that begins today.
The candidate with the fewest votes is knocked out and the second choices marked on the ballots cast for that candidate are then distributed among the remaining hopefuls.
This repeats until one candidate has a simple majority. Absentee ballots – excluded from earlier counts – are then added and a new set of eliminations begins to reveal the true winner.
The process could take weeks. A fresh round of results is expected on July 6, with a more complete set expected to follow the week after.
The winning Democratic candidate is widely expected to win the mayor’s race and will face off against Republic candidate Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels vigilante group.
Sliwa, 67, defeated Fernando Mateo to win Tuesday’s primary with an overwhelming 72 per cent to Mateo’s 28.
The final general election will be held in November, and will see the winner replace current two-term incumbent Bill de Blasio.