New York Mayor Says Rank Choice Voting 'Needs to be Re-Assessed' After Test Ballot Mix Up

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that the rank-choice voting in effect during the mayoral elections may need to be "reassessed" after the integrity of the city's mayoral primary in June was in question.

During a virtual press conference Tuesday, de Blasio was asked if it would be wise to reconsider the Ranked Choice Voting system, to which the mayor responded: "If it turns out it was utilized well across the board, in all sorts of communities, then I feel good about it."

I asked Mayor Bill de Blasio if he thinks NYC should reconsider Ranked Choice Voting.
He says if it turns out that it was used well across different communities "then I feel pretty good about it."
Did voters of different incomes rank all five spots? If not, "we need to reassess."

— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) July 13, 2021

"I like it if there was relative equality in how people utilize their ballots," he said. "In other words: if in more privileged and less privileged communities you saw consistent voting one through five, or as close to that as possible, everyone maximizing the power of their ballot."

"If it turns out, conversely, that we see a real skew, then I think it's time to reassess, because what I don't want to see [is] a system that enfranchises some people and not others," he added.

New York City implemented a new voting system for the mayoral election, which allows voters to rank candidates by preference rather than selecting just their top choice. The method involves rounds of elimination that continue until just two candidates stand, and the most votes will win.

Exit polling showed that there was a chance of slight disparity between Black and white voters utilizing the space to vote for five candidates, and de Blasio told reporters, "We need the research to really tell what happened here. We don't have that analysis yet."

And a blunder with the primary election sent the Democratic Party into a state of confusion after the Board of Elections (BOE) recanted their report on the vote count after realizing it had been tainted by test data never cleared from a computer system.

The voting for the Democratic primary ended on June 22, and according to the Associated Press, elections officials had failed to clear the computer of 135,000 test ballots that had been loaded in earlier to make sure the system worked.

The 135,000 fake ballots were mixed with the over 800,000 real ones, which sent candidates and media outlets alike into confusion and false reporting. It allegedly took several hours for election officials to realize the mistake.

Several of the candidates expressed their discontent with the "discrepancy" in counted votes, including Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley.

"The BOE's release of incorrect ranked choice votes is deeply troubling and requires a much more transparent and complete explanation," Garcia's campaign said in a statement. "Every ranked choice and absentee vote must be counted accurately so that all New Yorkers have faith in our democracy and our government."

Wiley issued a statement as well, saying, "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."

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

However, the BOE said no votes were lost that marred the outcome, and candidate Eric Adams was declared the winner of the Democratic primary.

Newsweek reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office and was referred to the virtual press conference for any additional information.

"Hometown Heroes" Ticker Tape Parade Held In
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 07: Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio attends the "Hometown Heroes" Ticker Tape Parade on July 07, 2021 in New York, New York. de Blasio said in a press conference that New York City's ranked choice voting system may need to be reassessed following a ballot mix up during the Democratic primaries. Noam Galai/Getty Images