August 5, 2021

Municipalities in New York in chaos after a counting error during the primaries

The municipal election in New York seems to be descending into chaos. The authorities admitted to having counted, by mistake, some 135,000 additional ballots, in addition to the 800,000 votes actually cast, during the Democratic primary from which the next mayor should emerge.

On Tuesday, the city’s Election Office released preliminary results, according to which former policeman Eric Adams, who so far was nine points ahead of his closest pursuer, was now neck and neck with Kathryn Garcia, with 51% against 49% before the counting of the votes by correspondence.

A few hours later, the results were withdrawn and the Bureau evoked a “Difference” in the count. He then said he forgot to remove from the count the test reports that had been used to ensure the proper functioning of the system.

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Officials have apologized for this ” mistake “ and said to have removed the test reports from their new count, without yet publishing updated preliminary results.

A new voting system

This failure sparked an uproar in New York, where the Elections Office already had an appalling reputation, being very regularly accused of incompetence and laxity.

“This error (…) is not just a failure to count the votes correctly, it is the result of generations of failures that have never been dealt with”, tweeted Maya Wiley, the progressive candidate who came in second on the strength of the first preliminary results, published on election night, June 22.

The failure is all the more echoed as New York is experimenting for the first time with a new voting system, the so-called ranked-choice vote, which allows up to five names to appear on the same ballot, classified by order of preference.

During the counting, the candidate with the lowest ranking on the total ballots is eliminated and the second choice of the voters who placed him first is now counted. The mechanics then repeat themselves until a candidate reaches 50% of the vote.

The World with AFP