Maya Wiley Blasts 'Debacle' at NYC Elections Board—'Voters Deserve Better'

New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley has strongly criticized the city's Board of Elections (BOE) after Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams emerged as winner of the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Wiley, former counsel to Mayor Bill De Blasio, called the election process a "debacle" after she was eliminated in the eighth round of the new ranked-choice voting system.

The Democratic primary was marred by a major error when the BOE was forced to retract initial results after inadvertently including 135,000 test ballots along with real votes cast in the election.

The Associated Press, which many media outlets rely on for calling election results, declared Adams the winner on Tuesday.

The former police officer triumphed in the eighth round of counting over former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia after Wiley was eliminated.

Wiley issued a statement criticizing the BOE and pointing to the fact the board had said results would be out by brunch, but they came later in the day.

"It would be an understatement to express dismay at the BOE's administration of this election. And that has made today's brunch at dinnertime, a long and drawn-out day for New Yorkers," Wiley said.

"Today we simply must recommit ourselves to a reformed Board of Elections and build new confidence in how we administer voting in New York City," the statement went on.

"New York City's voters deserve better, and the BOE must be completely remade following what can only be described as a debacle," she said.

The BOE said on Tuesday that no votes were lost despite the initial error in tabulation.

Dawn Sandow, deputy executive director of the BOE, said: "The reporting error was unacceptable, and we apologize to the voters of our great city for this error."

"We were trying to satisfy expectations of quick results with the new way of voting," Sandow said. "But we can say with certainty this issue caused no votes to be lost, no voters disenfranchised and no incorrect results to be certified."

Wiley and Garcia had not conceded the race at the time of writing, but Adams issued a statement appearing to cautiously declare victory.

"While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: a historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City," Adams said.

"Now we must focus on winning in November so that we can deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers."

Lindsey Green, a spokesperson for Garcia, told Politico she is "currently seeking additional clarity on outstanding ballots and [is] committed to supporting the Democratic nominee."

Garcia has no clear path to defeat Adams, who was 1 percent and 8,426 votes ahead of Garcia on Tuesday with 8,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

Newsweek has asked the Maya Wiley campaign and the New York City Board of Elections for comment.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Maya Wiley Addresses Supporters
Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley addresses supporters at an evening gathering on June 22, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Wiley has strongly criticized the New York City Board of Elections. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images