Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, was poised to become New York’s second Black mayor after being declared the winner of the Democratic primary for mayor Tuesday evening

Our Bureau  
New York, NY

Eric Adams won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City after a new tally of absentee ballots on Tuesday night, according to The Associated Press. The news service called the race for Adams after results from the city’s Board of Elections showed that he held a lead of one percentage point over his nearest rival, Kathryn Garcia. With most absentee votes now counted, Mr. Adams led Ms. Garcia by 8,426 votes in the city’s first mayoral contest to be determined by ranked-choice voting.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, was poised to become New York’s second Black mayor after being declared the winner of the Democratic primary for mayor Tuesday evening. “While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: an historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City,” Adams said in a statement.

“Now we must focus on winning in November so that we can deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers,” he added.

The election and counting has been mired in controversy for days.

Earlier, in a huge development last Wednesday, a revised count of New York City mayoral ballots showed that Eric Adams had a slim lead over his nearest rival. The tabulation gave Adams, a retired police captain and Brooklyn borough president, 51.1 per cent of the vote. The tabulation showed Kathryn Garcia, the former head of the sanitation department, at 48.9 per cent, unchanged from the previous count. The new figures came out after a botched tally on Tuesday that thrust the race into chaos.

On Wednesday, the margin between the Democratic contenders shrank from 15,908 votes to 14,755 votes, with roughly 124,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

Notable candidates in the June 22 primary election included Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; former commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation Kathryn Garcia; NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; former counsel to Bill de Blasio Maya Wiley; and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Dozens of members of the New York City business and political communities also campaigned for the role.

According to some reports, the 33% of Andrew Yang votes went to Garcia; 28% of Yang votes went to Adams; and 11% of Yang votes went to Wiley. The districts where Adams performed best cast fewer absentee ballots. But he led in more districts, and by higher margins, than Garcia overall. In order to overcome Adams’s lead, Garcia would need to outperform her in-person vote share among absentee voters across the city.

The city’s board of elections released the recount on Wednesday evening with an apology after its extraordinary failure a day earlier led to about 135,000 ballots from a test run of the system being erroneously included in the tally. The blunder prompted outrage from the candidates and mockery from New York residents.

On Wednesday, Eric Adams had filed a lawsuit to “ensure a fair and transparent election process” after the Board of Elections botched the June 22 primary outcome by accidentally including test results in the vote count, leading to 135,000 extra ballots.

Adams campaign for mayor issued the following statement after filing a lawsuit in Kings County Supreme Court seeking to ensure a fair and transparent election process: “Today we petitioned the court to preserve our right to a fair election process and to have a judge oversee and review ballots, if necessary. We are notifying the other campaigns of our lawsuit through personal service, as required by law, because they are interested parties. We invite the other campaigns to join us and petition the court as we all seek a clear and trusted conclusion to this election.”

“We invite the other campaigns to join us and petition the court as we all seek a clear and trusted conclusion to this election,” he added.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Kings County Supreme Court.

Earlier in a message to his supporters to remain committed to the complete counting of all votes. “Yesterday, the NYC Board of Elections released their unofficial ranked choice vote count. And after our campaign drew attention to major discrepancies in reporting — largely, the fact that the vote total released by the Board of Elections is 100,000-plus more than the total announced on election night — the Board has since taken down their initial vote count, which nonetheless projected us winning in the 11th round of ranked choice voting,” Adams said in the message. “This race is not over yet, and as always, we must remain committed to counting every single vote until a winner is declared.”

“Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more from the Board of Elections — but in the meantime, stay cool and let’s gear up for whatever comes next,” Adams added in the statement.

The Adams’ campaign also issued a statement on Ranked Choice Voting Simulation results announced by the Board of Elections. “Our campaign was the first choice of voters on Election Day and is leading this race by a significant margin because we put together a five-borough working class coalition of New Yorkers to make our city a safer, fairer, more affordable place. There are still absentee ballots to be counted that we believe favor Eric–and we are confident we will be the final choice of New Yorkers when every vote is tallied,” said the statement.

Mayor De Blasio also released a statement Wednesday morning, calling out what he considers to be the “fundamental structural flaws” of the Board of Elections. “There must be an immediate, complete recanvass of the BOE’s vote count and a clear explanation of what went wrong,” de Blasio said. “The record number of voters who turned out this election deserve nothing less.”

The election was the first in which the city is using ranked choice voting, giving each voter the option to list up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. The losing candidates are eliminated in successive rounds, with their votes reallocated until only two finalists remain.

New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary was thrust into the national debate about voting rights and election integrity this week after election officials revealed they had erroneously included 135,000 sample ballots in tabulations made public Tuesday. Election experts and political observers of both parties said Wednesday they doubted New York City’s fiasco would change many minds about the necessity of rewriting election laws in a variety of states, according to a New York Times report.

But they did express concern that New York’s problems will further fuel Republican rhetoric and misgivings about how U.S. elections are conducted.

The election is very important for the South Asian community not only because of their support to various mayoral candidates. It is important because New York City Council, the important legislative body that introduces and passes various laws relating to NYC and also approves its budget, may soon have some Indian faces and voices.

The primary elections for members of the NYC council had 10 Indian American candidates in the running. The general elections will be held on November 2, 2021.

Indian-Americans Jaslin Kaur, Sanjeev Jindal, Harpreet Singh Toor and Mandeep Sahi are running to represent district 23; Suraj Jaswal, Shekar Krishnan and Rajesh Ranot for district 25; Amit Bagga for district 26; Japneet Singh for district 28; and Felicia Singh for district 32.

Significantly, New York City, despite being home to a large and vibrant Indian American community, has not ever elected a city council member of South Asian origin. But that could change this year. Most of the candidates are young, first or second-generation immigrants and are highlighting issues which are important for the Indian American community.

As the counting goes on, a trio of South Asians look poised to win New York City Council Primary Races. Shekar Krishnanan, Jaslin Kaur and Shahana Hanif are in the lead in their respective races.  51 districts across the five boroughs, featured many Indian American candidates. As for Hanif, she could become the first Muslim woman to represent the council if she wins.

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