The Democratic primary for mayor of New York City was thrown into a state of confusion Tuesday when election officials retracted their latest report on the vote count after realizing it had been corrupted by test data never cleared from a computer system, the AP reports. The bungle was a black mark on New York City’s first major foray into ranked choice voting and seemed to confirm worries that the city’s Board of Elections, which is jointly run by Democrats and Republicans, was unprepared to implement the new system. The disarray (CNN refers to "chaos") began as evening fell, when the board abruptly withdrew data it had released earlier in the day purporting to be a first round of results from the ranked choice system. That data had indicated that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain who would be the city’s second Black mayor, had lost much of his lead and was ahead of former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by fewer than 16,000 votes.
Then the Board of Elections tweeted that it was aware of “a discrepancy” in its report on ranked choice voting results. It didn’t initially explain what that discrepancy was, even as it pulled the data from its website. Just before 10:30pm it released a statement saying that 135,000 ballot images it had put into its computer system for testing purposes had never been cleared. The results initially released Tuesday, and then withdrawn, were incomplete to begin with because they didn’t include any of the nearly 125,000 absentee ballots cast in the Democratic primary. Elections officials had planned on conducting another round of ranked choice analysis on July 6 that would include absentee ballots. A note posted on the Board of Elections website indicated it would try posting accurate results without absentee ballots Wednesday. (Much more on the issue here.)