New York City is still figuring out last week's election

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Just in case you’re wondering who won last week’s Democratic primary in New York City’s mayoral race, there will be new updates later today. But to save you a little bit of time, we can give you the short version of it. Keep wondering. There will not be a winner announced after today’s next round of voting and this process will be continuing for weeks to come. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams prevailed last week with a fairly healthy margin of ten points, but that apparently no longer matters, thanks to Gotham’s new ranked-choice voting system. Today, the Board of Elections will be determining who came in last in the race to be the next mayor and transfer all of their votes over to whoever those voters picked as their second choice. Since that almost certainly won’t put either of the top finishers over the 50% mark, they will keep performing this reshuffling of legally cast votes until they obtain a result they like. (Associated Press)

New York City plans to resume counting votes Tuesday in its Democratic mayoral primary, which went into a state of suspended animation a week ago with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams enjoying an early lead.

The city’s Board of Elections planned to announce the latest vote tallies sometime in the afternoon, and it will be the public’s first look at results from the city’s new ranked choice voting system, which gives voters a say in who wins even if their top choice for the office doesn’t have enough support.

When voting ended on June 22, Adams, a former police officer, had a lead of around 75,000 votes over civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, with former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia following close behind in third place.

The board won’t just be reshuffling the ranked-choice votes today. They will also begin counting the more than 124,000 mail in ballots that were allowed to be accepted up until Sunday… five full days after the polls were supposed to be closed. That number of mail-in ballots will take a while to count since they theoretically have to check to make sure that all of them are valid and were not cast in the names of dead people, as happened in multiple instances during the 2020 elections in New York City. They will also need to make sure that nobody voted both by mail and in person. But I’m sure they’ve got a handle on that, right? (/sarc)

Those mail-in ballots alone could swamp Eric Adams’ lead if they all went against him and for one of the “defund the police” candidates. And how will we know what the Democrats counting all of those ballots are up to? We won’t, since poll watchers from the opposing party aren’t invited to oversee the count. But don’t worry. I’m sure everyone will go just swimmingly.

This election debacle might help cast a much-needed, harsh light on these ranked-choice voting schemes. And the continued flood of mail-in ballots, most from people who were in town and available to vote last week, should also draw closer national scrutiny. Validating mail-in ballots is far more complicated and open to abuse than simply checking the ID of people showing up at their normal polling station to cast their vote. Of course, that’s not going to be a factor here because New York Democrats already passed a law forbidding any requirement to show your ID while voting. (You will still need to show it to get a COVID vaccination or a fishing license, however.)

A small number of mail-in ballots from seniors and people who are out of town is manageable, but when they number in the hundreds of thousands the door is open to abuse. And once the door is open, there is always someone willing to step through. This is particularly true when ballots are still being accepted a full week after the election. How often does it take a week for a letter to be delivered between two addresses inside the city?

All of these changes are the same ones that Democrats are pushing for nationally with their “voting reform” bill. Is the pile of hot garbage currently unfolding in New York City what you want all of our elections across the country to look like? Let them pass H.R. 1 in Congress and that’s exactly what you’ll get.