Eric Adams Leads Primary in NYC’s Mayoral Race, but Ranked-Choice Voting Means Results Are Far From In

The Brooklyn borough president emerged with a strong lead, but because of NY's new ranked-choice voting system, it may take weeks to know who won.

New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams speaks during his election night party at Schimanski on June 22, 2021 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Adams currently leads in first-choice votes. This is the first year in the city for ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank their top five candidates.
New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams speaks during his election night party at Schimanski on June 22, 2021 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Adams currently leads in first-choice votes. This is the first year in the city for ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank their top five candidates.
Photo: Michael M. Santiago (Getty Images)

As of Tuesday, most of the votes are in, but the winner of the Democratic primary for New York City’s mayoral race is far from decided. What we do know is that so far, the leading candidate is none other than Brooklyn borough president and former police captain Eric Adams. Between absentee ballots still yet to be counted and New York’s new ranked-choice voting system, officials say it might take weeks for voters to know who will be representing them in the general election.

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The New York Times reports that 82 percent of the votes are in and Adams emerged as the first choice for 31.6 of those who voted in person on Tuesday or during the early voting period, but because Adams didn’t earn more than 50 percent of the first-choice ranking votes needed to declare an outright win for any candidate, the race is still far from over.

By the way, does everyone understand the ranked-choice voting system? If you do, you’re better off than I was until recently. Basically, instead of casting a single vote for a single candidate, voters are given a set list of candidates to rank from one to five in order of preference. This means multiple rounds of ranking, voting and candidate eliminations unless a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the first-choice votes in the first round. If that didn’t clear things up, the Times was kind enough to provide a more thorough explanation of the system, how it works and what the benefits are. (Spoiler alert: It’s pretty complicated, so don’t feel dumb if you have to read through it a couple times.)

Anyway, while Adams didn’t get to claim victory on Tuesday, he did seem pretty confident that he would win the primary in the end as well as the general election.

“I am going to be your mayor,” Adams told a crowd, the Times reports. “I want you to believe again. Let’s bring our city back.”

But candidate Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the candidate who is in second with 22.3 percent of the first-choice votes, wasn’t trying to hear that “we got this shit in the bag” noise Adams was talking, and she assured her constituents that the race was far from over.

“I don’t know what New Yorkers have chosen tonight, not any one of us do, because the votes are still being counted,” she said. “I will tell you what is true: Every single vote will count.”

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Former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia came in third with 19.7 percent of first-choice votes. If either she or Wiley end up victorious when all is said and done and if they can beat Curtis Sliwa, the winner of the Republican primary, in the general election—and given the Democrats’ dominance in New York, that is all but certain—that winner will be NYC’s first woman to serve as mayor.

Meanwhile, Andrew Yang’s hopes of being the city’s first Asian mayor were laid to rest Tuesday as he came in at a distant fourth place, and he conceded while still pledging to be a force in changing his city for the better.

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“We still believe we can help, but not as mayor and first lady,” Yang said while standing beside his wife, Evelyn.

According to the Times, election officials expect the final primary results to be in around mid-July.

DISCUSSION

By
Marceline

I’ve seen people who don’t like the two-party system advocate for RCV over the years. So far, I’m not really seeing how this is better.

I am, however, just glad the race is over. If only so we get a break from Yang saying something tone-deaf every day.