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New Yorkers Vote in Mayoral Primary, Results Likely Weeks Out

Expecting delays from absentee ballots and the start of ranked-choice voting, the New York City elections board anticipates that complete official election results won't be in until mid-July.

Expecting delays from absentee ballots and the start of ranked-choice voting, the New York City elections board anticipates that complete official election results won't be in until mid-July.

Election polling site at P.S. 282 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on June 22, 2021. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio lived in the neighborhood before moving to the mayor's official residence at Gracie Mansion in Manhattan's Upper East Side. (Josh Russell photo/Courthouse News)

BROOKLYN (CN) — Voters in Brooklyn who cast in-person ballots in the 2021 mayoral primary race did so with scant wait on an overcast Tuesday, in and out in five to 10 minutes at polling sites in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Park Slope neighborhoods.

Although voters experienced short Election Day lines and speedy balloting, an influx of absentee ballots and the first instance here of ranked-choice voting means New Yorkers might not know the official winner of the contest for three weeks.

After the polls close on Tuesday, the New York City Board of Elections will release preliminary, unofficial results that reflect only the first ranks on ballots cast in-person during early voting and on Election Day, excluding absentee and affidavit ballots.

The Board of Elections expects to reveal the first round of preliminary ranked-choice results in one week on June 29, and it will then release updated results on a weekly basis as absentee ballots are tallied.

Complete election results should arrive the week of July 12, according to the board.

Because New York City is overwhelmingly Democratic, the winner of the party’s primary election is nearly certain to win the November general election and succeed the term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has held the office since 2014.

The outgoing mayor cast his ballot shortly before noon on Tuesday at the Park Slope library, but did not reveal his ballot picks to reporters.

A Ipsos poll ahead of New York City's June 22 mayoral primary placed Brooklyn Borough Preisdent Eric Adams in front at 28%, with Andrew Yang trailing at 20%. (Image via Courthouse News)

A recent Ipsos poll placed Brooklyn Borough Preisdent Eric Adams in front at 28%, with Andrew Yang trailing at 20%.

Kathyrn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner endorsed by The New York Times editorial board, was in third place at 15% in the Ipsos survey, followed by former City Hall counsel Maya Wiley at 13% and current NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer at 8%.

The 2021 Democratic slate for mayor also includes former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire; Barrack Obama’s housing secretary Shaun Donovan; former nonprofit organizer Dianne Morales; businessman Art Chang; and 28-year old Paper Boy Love Prince, a Brooklyn rapper and radical activist. Each remaining candidates on the ticket was in the low single-digit percentages.

Wiley, a former counsel to Hizzoner de Blasio and legal analyst at MSNBC, has been amassing support among progressive groups, recently winning the backing from favorites of the left, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and New York City rock band The Strokes.

For weeks, polling has suggested Adams, a moderate Democrat and former NYPD captain, as the apparent frontrunner in the party's primary, getting ranked as the first choice by around one quarter of likely voters, short of the 50% required to not trigger the ranked choice tallying process.

Also known as instant-runoff voting, if no single candidate gets 50% of the first-place votes, multiple rounds of ranked choice tabulation begin and the candidate in last place is eliminated.

Ballots cast for that eliminated candidate would then be allotted to the second-ranked choices of those voters. Remaining votes are then retallied, and the last place candidate is dropped again. The runoff process repeats until just two candidates remain, and the name with more votes wins.

Election polling site at P.S. 56 Lewis H. Latimer on the border between the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. (Josh Russell photo/Courthouse News)

Voters can pick as many or as few candidates they choose, including just a single preferred candidate.

Ranked-choice voting will be used for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president and city council elections.

Official tallying might take several weeks because of state laws regarding the tabulation of mail-in votes, not the ranked-choice method.

New York City voted overwhelmingly in favor of ranked-choice voting in elections in 2019, passing by ballot measure with over 73% approval.

According to New York City Board of Elections, more than 191,000 New Yorkers had already cast their ballot by the final day of early voting on Sunday.

In addition to picking the Democratic candidate likely to become the city’s next mayor, voters’ two-sheet ballot this election also included picking the next Manhattan district attorney, presumed to take over Cyrus Vance’s ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.

The Democratic candidates for Manhattan DA include former Brooklyn prosecutor Tali Farhadian Weinstein; former Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg; Diana Florence and Lucy Lang, who both worked in Vance’s office; and former prosecutor Liz Crotty, now a private litigator. 

Without prosecutor experience, and considering that fact an advantage, are New York State Assemblymember Dan Quart; civil rights attorney Tahanie Aboushi; and public defender Eliza Orlins. 

Because Manhattan is heavily Democratic, the Manhattan DA race could well be decided by the June Democratic primary.

The person elected will be just the fourth Manhattan district attorney in the last 80 years. Vance’s predecessor, Robert Morgenthau, was in office for 34 years. Frank Hogan before him served for 31 years. 

The polls will remain open on Tuesday until 9 p.m.

The Republican mayoral primary features Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels anti-crime group, against Fernando Mateo, a Dominican-American restaurant owner and advocate for taxi drivers.

The general election will take place Tuesday, November 2.

Follow Josh Russell on Twitter

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