Queens elections complicated by ranked-choice voting

New York City’s Primary Elections happened just over two weeks ago, but the city’s board of elections is still in the thick of tabulating the vote. With the addition of ranked choice voting this year and drama stemming from the elections board’s dysfunction, figuring out the winner of each election has not been straightforward, yet the field of candidates has narrowed down in some races.

As of July 6, Eric Adams holds a slight lead over Kathryn Garcia in the race to be the Democratic Party’s mayoral nominee, according to election results compiled by Spectrum News. Adams has 51.1 percent of the vote and Garcia has 48.9 percent. In terms of who could win, Adams was the clear favorite as the race’s initial results trickled in, but that clarity was stymied by the revelation of 135,000 test ballots that errantly made their way into the voting system.

NYC’s BOE released a statement via Twitter on June 30 to try and soothe widely held concerns over the board’s ability to properly manage the tabulation process around RCV. They said that the voting tallies were off for mayoral nominees because of ballot images that were not cleared from the Election Management System during a test run. The statement said, “Let us be clear: RCV was not the problem, rather a human error that could have been avoided.”

Ranked choice voting applies to the following races this year: mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and numerous city council elections. And while hundreds of thousands of voters went to the polls on June 22, the last day that the city will not have finalized ballots until July 9. Despite not having a complete vote, the city released a preliminary round-by-round elimination report on June 29 and another on July 6.

The city will release these unofficial reports each week until the election is fully certified. The result of each election that is determined by ranked choice voting will not truly be known until all absentee and military ballots are collected and counted. While some candidates are content with how the voting process is being handled, others have voiced concerns over a lack of transparency.

One of the reasons that the election process can feel dragged out in some races is due to the ballot curing process. Some races don’t need to take them into consideration because of the lead candidate’s margin of victory, but in closer races the ballots can add weeks to the process.

“There were people who made mistakes when filling out there ranked-choice ballot and those were thrown out,” said Martha Ayon, a Queens-based political consultant. “The ballot curing process is only concerned with errors made to the envelope that the ballot is in, not errors made in filling out the ballot itself.”

As per the Queens races, Donovan Richards is the incumbent Queens Borough President and ran against Elizbeth Crowley in this year’s election. The two faced off in a special Democratic primary last year where Richards won, but the general election was cancelled due to safety concerns over the pandemic.

While Richards won that race by a margin of over 10,000 votes, Crowley seems to have gained traction since then. Currently, less than 2,000 votes separate the two among preliminary voting reports, with Richards slightly on top. A victor will be declared in the coming weeks as absentee ballots come in to fill out the picture.

“There’s two sides to each ballot – the envelope side and the actual ballot,” Ayon said, explaining that thousands of ballots will end up discarded because of improper dates or signatures in the wrong spot. “There’s people who actually did not vote – without knowing – because once their ballots were opened by the board of elections they were technically thrown out.”

“If the board of elections worker thinks there’s an error with someone’s ballot, they should fold the ballot up and put it aside, contact the voter and give them seven days to come in and fill it out,” Moya said. “In the end, the board throws it out because the ballot is invalidated.”

The Simple Truth: The campaign to stop PTSD and Cancer from killing our Veterans

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy 4th of July. Now that our national birthday party is over until next year, we must all again focus on saving the lives of our Veterans at risk. As we enjoy our summer rituals of beaches, barbecues, travel, and other recreational activities, let us make sure that those who make those traditions possible, also get to enjoy them.

We Veterans are the smallest minority group in our population, yet we suffer from the dual epidemics of cancer and suicide at much higher rates than civilians. The reasons for this are many, but the solution is simple. The solution is: The Gold Shield. Most people are shocked and offended when they learn that almost every hour of every day, another Veteran is lost to suicide, and an even greater number are lost to cancer, and those tragic numbers are directly caused by military service.

To make matters worse, the government does little to improve the situation. Since the government cannot solve the problem, it is up to us – the private sector. The Gold Shield is the mechanism we all can use to deliver services Vets need to reduce their appalling death toll. It is tragic when we lose any service member on the battlefield – but it is UNFORGIVABLE TO KEEP ON LOSING THEM AT HOME.

Maria Diano

Maria Diano passed away on Friday, July 2, 2021 at the age of 50. Beloved Mother of Frank Diano. Loving Daughter of Frances and the late Francesco Diano. Dear Sister of Josephine (Mike) Maurro and Vinnie Diano. Cherished Aunt of Michael. Mass of Christian Burial offered at St. Stanislaus Church on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 10 AM. Interment followed at Lutheran-All Faiths Cemetery, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

Theresa Kearney

Theresa Kearney passed away on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at the age of 85. Beloved Wife of the late Charles. Loving Sister of Peter Bluenke, John Bluenke, Eugene Bleunke, Carol Torres and the late Rose Bernhard. Also survived by numerous loving nieces, nephews and friends. Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Stanislaus Church on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 9:30 AM. Interment followed at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

Richard P. Burke

Richard P. Burke passed away on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at the age of 78. Beloved Husband of Ruth Burke. Loving Father of Richard Burke, Suzanne Burke-McGovern, Mary Beth Meenan and John Burke. Father-in-Law of Wendy, Martin, Gerry and Kerri. Cherished Grandfather of Maureen, Erin, Makayla, Richard, Kieran, John, Kevin, Joseph and James. Dear Brother of Ronnie Casale, Billy Burke and the late Michael Burke. Also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Mr. Burke was a United States Marine Corps Veteran who served during the Vietnam Era and former owner of Burke’s Pub. He was also a member of the Frank Kowalinski Post #4, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Ridgewood Moose Lodge #1642 and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Board. Mass of Christian Burial offered at Our Lady of Hope Church on Saturday, July 3, 2021 10:45 AM. Interment followed at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

Emil Diana

Emil Diana passed away on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at the age of 93. Beloved Husband of Mary Diana. Loving Father of Marcella (Don) Tompkins, Peter (Valerie) Diana and Steven (Jane) Diana. Cherished Grandfather of Dana Scott & Leanne Tompkins, Nicholas, Thomas & Travis Diana, and Jason & Matthew Diana and Great-Grandfather of Jack Tompkins and Owen. Also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and friends. In Lieu of Flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Mass of Christian Burial offered at St. Adalbert’s Church on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:00 AM. Entombment followed at St. John Cemetery Ave Maria Garden Mausoleum, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

Cesar D. Gonzales

Cesar D. Gonzales passed away on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at the age of 61. Beloved Husband of Gina P. Gonzales. Loving Brother of Danilo Gonzales, Teresita Gonzales, Yolanda Gonzales, Evelyn Mendoza and the late Lorna Gonzales. Cherished uncle of Marie Joyce, Paulo, Danielle, Karl, Allan, Allyssa, Alma, Alena and Great Uncle of Gabbie, Enzo, Loren, Danika and Aila. Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Mary’s Church on Saturday, July 10, 2021 9:45 AM. Interment followed at St. Michael’s Cemetery, East Elmhurst, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth NY 11378.

Lucille O’Connor

Lucille O’Connor of Ridgewood passed away on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at the age of 85. Cremation at Fresh Pond Crematory, Middle Village, NY. Memorial Service Saturday, July 10, 2021 from 2-5 PM at Hess Miller Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial Monday, July 12, 2021 10:30 AM at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church. Hess-Miller Funeral Home, 64-19 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, NY 11379.

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