Election officials in New York City met secretly Wednesday to discuss the vote count debacle in the high-profile Democrat mayoral race, reports the New York Post.
New York City's Board of Elections on Tuesday released an incorrect tally of votes in the race that showed a near-dead heat during an automatic runoff. But the count was revealed as a fiasco, with results showing that Eric Adams' lead over Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley had significantly narrowed.
The board later disclosed it had accidentally included 135,000 sample ballots used to test the city's new ranked-choice system with the group of actual ballots. It later scrapped those results. Adams on Wednesday announced that he had filed suit against the board.
Board of Elections President Fred Umane told the Post the meeting they had Wednesday wasn't public, though state law requires all meetings of public bodies to be "open to the general public."
Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said of the BOE, "They had a meeting, it should be public."
"If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck — and a meeting needs to be open no matter what you call it," he said.
"They owe the public an explanation, especially in light of what's going on."
John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, said the board should be aiming for full transparency.
"These guys are a national laughingstock and they should be doing everything possible to restore the public's confidence," he told the Post.
Wiley, who came in second place in the initial vote count, said the race was still wide open.
"With more than 120,000 absentee ballots left to count — in addition to provisional ballots and potential recanvassing of results — this election is still wide open," she said in a statement. "That's why following yesterday's embarrassing debacle, the Board of Elections must count every vote in an open way so that New Yorkers can have confidence that their votes are being counted accurately."
Garcia issued a similar statement.
"While we remain confident in our path to victory, we are taking nothing for granted and encourage everyone to patiently wait for over 124,000 absentee ballots to be counted and included in the ranked choice voting tabulation," she said. "Every candidate should respect the democratic process and be committed to supporting whomever the voters have selected to be the Democratic nominee for mayor."
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