NYC Board of Elections Messes Up Ballots, Apologizes Via Notes App Message

The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) announced on Tuesday that it had mistakenly included 135,000 test ballots as part of counting for the hotly contested mayor's race.

The statement was issued on Twitter in what appeared to be a screenshot from a notes app.

The board initially released new figures from the election that showed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' lead in the Democratic mayoral primary had narrowed to just two points in the first tabulated set of results from the new ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, according to CNN.

However, BOE later took to Twitter to announce that images of test ballots were not cleared from the Election Management System (EMS), meaning an additional 135,000 ballots were included in results released on Tuesday.

The BOE retracted Tuesday's results because of the error.

The BOE had earlier acknowledged a "discrepancy" in its voting results. Adams had also raised questions about the rise in the vote total.

The Board of Elections shared a statement on its official Twitter account late on Tuesday. That statement appeared to be a screenshot from a note-taking app, as many Twitter users were quick to point out.

"Board staff have removed all test ballot images from the system and will upload election night results, cross-referencing against election night reporting software for verification," the BOE said.

"The cast vote record will be re-generated and the RCV rounds will be re-tabulated."

"The board apologizes for the error and has taken immediate measures to ensure the most accurate up to date results are reported," they said.

— NYC Board of Elections (@BOENYC) June 30, 2021

Adams is a former NYPD police officer who took an initial lead in the Democratic primary following the release of unofficial results on June 22. He issued a statement about the BOE's error.

"Today's mistake by the Board of Elections was unfortunate. It is critical that New Yorkers are confident in their electoral system, especially as we rank votes in a citywide election for the first time," Adams said.

"We appreciate the Board's transparency and acknowledgment of its error. We look forward to the release of an accurate, updated simulation, and the timely conclusion of this critical process," he said.

Former New York sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who appears to be running Adams a close second, was more critical in a statement on Tuesday.

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

Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio who came third in the unofficial results after winning an endorsement from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also criticized the BOE.

"This error by the Board of Elections is not just failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed," Wiley said in a statement.

"Today, we have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results, not because there is a flaw in our election laws, but because those who implement it have failed too many times," Wiley said.

Newsweek has asked the NYC Board of Elections for comment.

People Vote the New York Mayoral Election
People vote during the Primary Election Day at P.S. 81 on June 22, 2021 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. The Board of Elections acknowledged a "discrepancy" in its results on Tuesday. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images