On Tuesday, New York City held the election that will effectively determine the next mayor of the most populous city in the United States (technically Tuesday was just the primary, but given the blues of New York City, the Democratic nominee will be ranked 2 November general election.) However, we are not expected to have the official winner before the Week of July 12th. That’s partly due to the city’s adoption Ranking list voting for local elections, but mainly because New York a long time to count out postal ballot papers. (Absence results won’t even be begin will appear until July 6th.)
That is, some preliminary results have already been announced: namely the election results of the first choice with personal voting (either early or on election day). At 2:00 a.m. on June 23, with 799,827 ballots counted, Brooklyn District President Eric Adams had 32 percent of the first-choice vote, attorney Maya Wiley had 22 percent, former New York Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia had 20 percent, and the Businessman Andrew Yang had 12 percent. (Nine other candidates each received less than 6 percent of the vote.) Based on that first number of votes, Adams, a moderate ex-police officer who worked on a Tough-on-crime platform is in a strong position to win. However, the road to victory is still narrow for them progressive Wiley or them technocratic Garcia. (Yang meanwhile has already admitted.)
This road to victory begins with postal voting. According to the New York Electoral Board, 86,920 postal ballot papers have already been cast in the Democratic area code, and up to 120,580 more could be on the way (postal ballots can count in this election as long as they are postmarked by June 22nd and arrive by June 29th). And there are some reasons to believe that these ballots will help Wiley, and Garcia in particular, make up ground.
According to Survey of mayor run, Wiley and Garcia are especially strong with white and college-educated voters – the very type who tend to vote absently. According to a Pew Research Center In a poll conducted shortly after the 2020 election, 64 percent of Biden white voters voted absent, compared with just 56 percent of Biden Hispanic voters and 39 percent of Biden black voters. In addition, 63 percent of Biden graduates voted absent, compared with just 54 percent of Biden voters without a college degree.
If you are looking at the neighborhoods of New York City that used postal voting strongest in elementary school 2020, they also overlap quite a lot with the quarters whose first choice for mayors was Garcia (most of Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn) and to a lesser extent Wiley (Greenpoint, Brooklyn; Astoria, Queens).
But postal votes will likely only limit, not obliterate, Adams’ leadership. (Case in point, suppose there are 100,000 absentee votes and Garcia gets 40 percent of that while Adams gets 10 percent. Adams would still lead Garcia 29 percent to 22 percent overall.) So Wiley or Garcia would have to go to New York leave City’s new leaderboard selection system to ensure victory.
The ranking election in the Big Apple works like this: Voters can Rank up to five candidates in order of preference from first to fifth choice. Then the candidate with the fewest first election votes is eliminated and his votes are redistributed to the second-placed candidates on their ballot papers. This process repeats itself until there are only two candidates left, and whoever wins this final round will be declared a Democratic candidate for mayoral.
Therefore, in leaderboard selection voting, the candidate leading in the initial preferences is not guaranteed to be the ultimate winner. For example, if every Garcia, Yang, and underage voter takes Wiley second, Wiley could overtake Adams once his votes are redistributed. But in practice a candidate’s votes do not move en bloc, and the ranking selection usually does not lead to a different winner than the regular old plurality voting. The representation of interests for the voting reform FairVote has tracked 398 single-winner ranked election races in the US since 2004, and 383 have been won by the candidate who led after the first round. And from the 15 come-from-behind winners, only three overcame first-round deficits of more than 6.2 percentage points.
This will give you a sense of why Adams is in a good position. Even if Wiley or Garcia could use postal voting to reduce Adams’ lead on, say, 6 points, historical precedent would still be strong in Adams’s favor. Nevertheless, we cannot completely rule out a Wiley or, in particular, a Garcia comeback. In the two most recent polls of the mayoral race of Data for progress and Citizen data / FairVote, Leaderboard poll pulled Garcia 12 and 6 points closer to Adams in the final round than she was in the first round. However, Wiley came only 2 points closer to Adams in the Citizen Data / FairVote poll and even fell 3 points further back in the Data for Progress poll, suggesting she wouldn’t consolidate the anti-Adams vote as effectively as Garcia. Given how close they are in initial preferences, it’s hard to predict which of the two Adams will face in the finals, despite Garcia’s likely strength with absentee votes and Quasi-alliance with Yang could give her the advantage.
We’ll analyze the results in more detail once some of these gaps are filled in and we know the winner for sure, but don’t wait for it – that date is probably three weeks away. But for now, Eric Adams can start measure the curtains.