Ranked-choice voting may have suffered "a black eye" courtesy of the New York City mayoral race, according to Politico.
Two weeks after city residents went to the polls to vote in the primaries, official results have not been announced, Politico said Tuesday.
The city Board of Elections released incorrect vote tallies last week before fixing the totals 24 hours later. Although the snafu was not related directly to the ranked-choice system, the process by which voters rank candidates in order of their preference is being scrutinized.
"My concern is that New York's experience will give ranked-choice voting a black eye," Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, D, said.
Ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting, allows voters to select their top three choices for each position in order of preference. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, he or she will be elected. If nobody does, however, an elimination process begins — the candidate receiving the least amount of votes no longer will be included.
The Board of Elections will reveal the tallies of nearly 126,000 absentee on Tuesday, the New York Post reported Monday. Another update isn’t expected until next later.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a slim lead over former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in last week's revised vote totals.
Ranked-choice voting, used in New York City for the first time, is the system under which senators and members of Congress from two states now are elected.
Advocates of the voting system say they remain confident in the system despite the issues in New York, according to Politico. Alaska and Maine are among 53 jurisdictions that will conduct ranked-choice elections in upcoming races, according to FairVote.
Last week’s incorrect tally was the result of forgetting to erase test ballots from the system — something ranked-choice proponents say could have happened in a conventional election.
"It’s obviously super frustrating that they did this, and kind of just head-swirling," Rob Richie, a co-founder and president of FairVote, a nonprofit pushing for more ranked-choice voting, told Politico.
"It's just like, 'Oh, my gosh. Are you kidding me?' Because it's such a rookie mistake, right? It's because you can do this with any kind of election."
More than a dozen ranked-choice voting advocates told Politico that New York’s problems are not typical.
"It's difficult to compare ourselves to New York," Julie Fullmer, mayor of Vineyard, Utah, which is one of about two dozen cities in the state to use ranked-choice voting, told Politico.
"We're a different state. We've got different people running it. We have different processes and different laws about how we do our elections."
Sherrie Swensen, longtime Democrat clerk of Salt Lake County, Utah, told Politico the New York City situation didn’t concern her. However, she added that she was worried about cities running ranked-choice elections for the first time.
"[They need to] make sure that people understand how to complete their ballot and do it in a way that is going to be counted, and make sure that if they make a mistake, they know how to change that," Swensen told Politico.
New York City’s Board of Elections is composed of politically appointed commissioners rather than experienced election officials — the biggest source of frustration among advocates and candidates, according to Politico.
"There has been an increasingly loud conversation in New York about the need for wholesale reform of our election administration," Susan Lerner, the executive director of the good government group Common Cause New York, told Politico.
The Board of Elections' partial results last week did not include roughly 125,000 uncounted absentee ballots from the Democrat primary.
"Issuing partial results does a tremendous disservice to the voters," Bellows told Politico. "Because we all know that patterns vary dramatically among those who vote on Election Day versus absentee."
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