NYC Mayoral Front-Runner Adams: Nobody Will 'Steal the Election From Me' New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally on June 21, 2021, in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 22 June 2021 09:19 AM
New York City mayoral Democrat front-runner Eric Adams said "no one is gonna steal the election from me" a day before New York City voters cast ballots in Tuesday's primary, Politico said.
The city's new ranked-choice voting system allows voters to choose their top five candidates in order of preference. Two contenders have formed a last-minute alliance to bolster their own campaigns — leading Adams to accuse them of voter disenfranchisement.
On Monday, Adams was asked if he would accept the results of the election, and not claim voter fraud as former President Donald Trump did after the 2020 presidential election.
"Can you assure voters that's not what you're doing here?" Politico said a reporter asked Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD captain.
"Yes," he replied, according to Politico. "I assure voters that no one is gonna steal the election from me."
Adams, who is Black, implied the alliance between Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang was a form of voter suppression. Politico reported that some Adams supporters even said the move was intended to "disenfranchise Black voters," a claim made in statements distributed by the campaign.
Adams also said Monday that Garcia and Yang were tone deaf for beginning their alliance on Juneteenth, a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery.
"African Americans are very clear on voter suppression. We know about the poll tax. We know about the fight that we’ve had historically, how you had to go through hurdles to vote," Adams said on CNN. "So if [my supporters] feel, based on their perception, that it suppressed the vote, then I respect their feeling."
Arrangements such as that between Garcia and Yang, though, are one of the intended outcomes of ranked-choice voting, Politico said.
Under the new voting system, if no person gets more than 50% of the vote initially, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their supporters' votes are redistributed to the voter's second choice, Politico said. That process continues until someone gets a majority of votes.
Results of the ranked-choice election will not be released until a week after election day, and an a official final tally could take weeks.
Even before the Yang-Garcia alliance, Adams was casting doubt about the ranked-choice process.
"What happens to everyday New Yorkers? The Board of Elections betrayed us once again and didn’t properly educate and get information out," Adams said in early June. "It would be lucky if we get these results by January 18. We don’t know how long this is going to take. I'm really troubled about the outcome of this, I hope the counting does not equal the rollout."
Although ranked-choice voting has not been attempted in an election of this size, experts of the process insists Adams' concerns are exaggerated.
"There have been 429 elections in the U.S. that have used ranked-choice voting. In all but 15, the candidate with the most number of first place votes won," Alex Clemens, a veteran Bay Area political strategist and lobbyist with Lighthouse Public Affairs, told Politico. "It's unusual when that doesn't happen.”
Adams' anti-crime candidacy has benefited from an increase in shootings and hate crimes that have put public safety at top of the city's issues list.
With a message of steady management, Garcia has been endorsed by the New York Times and Daily News. That helped the former city sanitation commissioner to surge to first and second place in some recent polls.
Yang entered the race with name recognition after having run for president in 2020.
Progressive candidate Maya Wiley has been supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Politico said the new voting system, combined with the rapidly changing dynamics, have prevented Adams from enjoying his front-runner status.
"If I was his campaign, I wouldn’t have done some of the same things they've done in the last few days," Rob Richie, president of national nonprofit FairVote, told Politico.
"The more you sort of separate yourself from other people, the more risky that is in a ranked-choice voting strategy."