Eric Adams, the front-runner in Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary, is raising questions about the electoral process as his campaign faces growing efforts from opponents to slow his momentum.
Already a critic of ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to choose five candidates in their order of preference, Mr. Adams is now taking aim at the city’s plans to start releasing partial and unofficial vote totals on Tuesday.
The Board of Elections should only release the results when they have the final tally, he said — though that tally might not be available for weeks. Otherwise, he said, voters might worry there’s “hanky panky” going on.
“We should hold all the numbers until we have the final number,” Mr. Adams said at a Brooklyn church on Sunday.
His criticisms of the Board of Election’s plans began at least last year when he supported an unsuccessful lawsuit by Black lawmakers to stop ranked-choice voting.
Throughout the campaign, Mr. Adams has declined to say who he would rank second on his ballot, which led to criticism from a leading rival, Andrew Yang, that Mr. Adams did not support ranked-choice voting.
The Board of Elections will release an unofficial tally on primary night. If no candidate gets the 50 percent plus one vote required for victory, the ranked-choice voting tabulation process will begin.
On June 29, the board will run the ranked-choice voting software for the first time and post the results. That total will not include absentee and affidavit ballots. On July 6, the board will run the ranking software again, this time with absentee and affidavit ballots.
As the absentee and affidavit ballots continue to be counted, the board will continue to post updated results. Final results could come by the week of July 12.
Board officials said posting the results as they receive them is the best way to insure transparency. Though Mr. Adams disagrees with that idea, he said he would not fight them.
“These are the rules. We have to play by the rules,” he said. “We are going to tell our supporters and voters let’s remain patient.”
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