Election News

Citing Data Issues, NYC Board of Elections Voids Mayoral Count Released Tuesday

June 30, 2021

You had one job.....

Tuesday evening, the NYC Board of Elections retracted mayoral ranked-choice voting results released earlier in the day. The Board said that the numbers released included 135,000 test ballots that had never been cleared from the system. 

The Board is expected to re-run the results Wednesday.

 

Eric Adams Leads After First Ranked Choice Results, but Margin Shrinks Significantly

June 29, 2021

These results were retracted by the NYC Board of Elections Tuesday night. The release had included 135,000 test ballots.  Updated results are expected Wednesday.

The data below is no longer accurate.

In the first unofficial results of ranked-choice voting, Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia were the last two remaining, with Adams leading by 51.1% to 48.9%. Maya Wiley was narrowly eliminated before Garcia. 

Adams led by about 9 points on Election Day; the final difference was much closer.

As a reminder, no absentee ballots were included in this week's results. These ballots will make up a significant portion of the vote, so the race is far from over

Our original article, with the various caveats about interpreting these numbers, appears beneath the results table.

The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) will release preliminary ranked-choice results today for last Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary.  In results released that night, no candidate in the 13 person field got a majority of the vote. As a result, ranked-choice is being used for the first time to determine a winner.

The BOE is expected to release round-by-round results. In ranked choice voting, the lowest polling candidate is eliminated in each round, with votes reallocated based on the ranking preference of each of his or her voters. The process continues until only two candidates remain, by which point one will have a mathematical majority.

Today's results will be the based on in-person voting that occurred during the early voting period and on Election Day. That is, it is the ranked-choice outcome of the results released last Tuesday.  

Absentee ballots excluded

Today's results will not include any absentee ballots cast in the election. By law, the counting of those did not begin until yesterday. Today is also the deadline for the BOE to receive absentee ballots. Those had to be postmarked by June 22.  

The absentee ballot numbers are significant. There were approximately 800,000 early and same-day votes counted on election night. As of June 28, approximately 124,500 Democratic absentee ballots had been returned.  Not all will be valid, but assuming the vast majority are, these will end up comprising 12-13% or so of the total ballots cast.

What will the results tell us?

From the New York Times: Despite the lack of absentee ballots, "the initial ranked-choice tally may still offer an important snapshot of which candidates had the broadest appeal, as well as insight into how voters grouped, or excluded, certain candidates."

The Times goes on to say that

"a range of political observers say the final difference between the top two finishers will likely be closer than Mr. [Eric] Adams’s 9-point lead after the first round of counting.

The campaigns of Ms. [Kathryn] Garcia and Ms. [Maya] Wiley have been busy with calculators, maps of voter-turnout results and various polls hinting at what share of other candidates’ votes will go to each of them and to Mr. Adams.

The data, they have said, suggests the race is tighter than it looks after the initial ballot tally, and that one of them could still win."

One more complication

Next Tuesday - and weekly thereafter until finalized - the BOE will again go through the ranked choice process. Those releases will include absentee ballots processed to that point.  It is possible that when absentee ballots are counted, the first choice order of the candidates could change. Because of the round-by-round elimination associated with ranked-choice, this could magnify the differences between the results released today and those released in subsequent weeks.

 

Live Results: California State Assembly District 18 Special Primary Election

June 29, 2021

We're following one election today.

California State Assembly District 18 

Special All Party Primary

There are 80 seats in the California State Assembly. It is currently comprised of 59 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 1 independent. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022. 

District 18 is in the Oakland area, entirely within Alameda County. The vacancy was created in April when Democrat Rob Bonta resigned after being confirmed as California Attorney General.

There are eight candidates on the ballot. The six Democrats include Mia Bonta, wife of the former incumbent. The only Republican on the ballot, Stephen Slauson, was the GOP nominee in both 2018 and 2020. There is also an independent.  A ninth person, Democrat Nelsy Batista, is a certified write-in candidate.

This is a very Democratic area; Rob Bonta received over 85% of the vote in each of the last several elections. 

If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a top two special general election will be held on August 31.  Polls close at 11:00 PM Eastern Time.

Upcoming July 13

  • Alabama State Senate District 14 Special Election
  • Alabama State house District 73 Special Election
  • Georgia State House Districts 34 and 156 Special Election Runoffs
  • Wisconsin State Assembly District 37 Special Election

Initial and Incomplete, First Ranked Choice Results in NYC Mayoral Race to be Released Tuesday

June 29, 2021

The New York City Board of Elections (BOE) will release preliminary ranked-choice results today for last Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary.  In results released that night, no candidate in the 13 person field got a majority of the vote. As a result, ranked-choice is being used for the first time to determine a winner.

The BOE is expected to release round-by-round results. In ranked choice voting, the lowest polling candidate is eliminated in each round, with votes reallocated based on the ranking preference of each of his or her voters. The process continues until only two candidates remain, by which point one will have a mathematical majority.

Today's results will be the based on in-person voting that occurred during the early voting period and on Election Day. That is, it is the ranked-choice outcome of the results released last Tuesday.  

Absentee ballots excluded

Today's results will not include any absentee ballots cast in the election. By law, the counting of those did not begin until yesterday. Today is also the deadline for the BOE to receive absentee ballots. Those had to be postmarked by June 22.  

The absentee ballot numbers are significant. There were approximately 800,000 early and same-day votes counted on election night. As of June 28, approximately 124,500 Democratic absentee ballots had been returned.  Not all will be valid, but assuming the vast majority are, these will end up comprising 12-13% or so of the total ballots cast.

What will the results tell us?

From the New York Times: Despite the lack of absentee ballots, "the initial ranked-choice tally may still offer an important snapshot of which candidates had the broadest appeal, as well as insight into how voters grouped, or excluded, certain candidates."

The Times goes on to say that

"a range of political observers say the final difference between the top two finishers will likely be closer than Mr. [Eric] Adams’s 9-point lead after the first round of counting.

The campaigns of Ms. [Kathryn] Garcia and Ms. [Maya] Wiley have been busy with calculators, maps of voter-turnout results and various polls hinting at what share of other candidates’ votes will go to each of them and to Mr. Adams.

The data, they have said, suggests the race is tighter than it looks after the initial ballot tally, and that one of them could still win."

One more complication

Next Tuesday - and weekly thereafter until finalized - the BOE will again go through the ranked choice process. Those releases will include absentee ballots processed to that point.  It is possible that when absentee ballots are counted, the first choice order of the candidates could change. Because of the round-by-round elimination associated with ranked-choice, this could magnify the differences between the results released today and those released in subsequent weeks.

 

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown Ousted in Democratic Primary

June 23, 2021

Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, seeking an unprecedented fifth term in office, was defeated in Tuesday's Democratic primary. India Walton, a first time candidate challenging Brown from the far left, led Brown by about 7% as of Wednesday afternoon. While absentee ballots remain to be counted, the race has been called by both Decision Desk and the Associated Press. Decision Desk provides election results to 270toWin. Brown has not yet conceded.

With only write-in opposition expected to be on the ballot in November, Walton is all but certain to be the first female mayor in New York's second largest city. A self-described Democratic Socialist, she will also be the first socialist mayor of a major American city since 1960.

Overview and Live Results: New York City Mayoral Primary

June 22, 2021

Primary voters in America's largest city head to the polls Tuesday to select their party nominees for mayor. The current mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, cannot run due to term limits.

Almost all of the interest is on the Democratic side as the nominee will be the overwhelming favorite to be elected in November. However, we probably won't know who that person is for several weeks. 

There are 13 Democrats on the ballot. See The Candidates section below the results for more information. 

Live Results

Polls close at 9:00 PM ET. 

Important: The results released after the polls close will reflect the first choice of in-person voters (ballots cast during early voting and on Election Day). Absentee ballots - which will make up a greater portion of votes cast than in prior years - will not begin to be counted until next week. Once all the votes are counted, a winner will be determined via the Ranked Choice Voting process, which is being used for the first time in a NYC mayoral election.  It is possible that someone other than the candidate leading on Election Day will be the eventual nominee.

The week of July 12 is the earliest that the final election results will be certified.

Ranked Choice Voting will not impact the Republican primary, as there are only two candidates. A winner may be projected Tuesday night. However, if the race is close, that may not be possible until the subsequent counting of absentee ballots.

The Candidates

Eight of the 13 candidates have seen enough support to be invited to debates and included in polls. They have all raised several million dollars or more. Based on polling, these eight can be divided into three tiers. 

The number in parentheses is the average of the three polls linked to in the third bullet point above. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order within their tier.

Tier 1: The nominee will likely come from this group

  • Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President (25%)
    • Has been frontrunner in most recent polls
  • Kathryn Garcia, former Sanitation Department Commissioner (16.3%)
    • Support increased after May endorsement by The New York Times
  • Maya Wiley, civil rights attorney (15.3%)
    • Gained traction after recent endorsement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Andrew Yang, entrepreneur (15.7%)
    • Early frontrunner in the race has fallen back

Tier 2: Had a chance at one point

  • Scott Stringer, City Comptroller (8%)
    • Lost support after April accusations of sexual misconduct

Tier 3: All consistently polling at 5% or less; not going to win

  • Shaun Donovan, Former HUD Secretary and OMB Director (3.3%)
  • Ray McGuire, former investment banker (3.7%)
  • Dianne Morales, former nonprofit CEO (2%)

More Information

Other June 22 Election Results

There is also a mayoral primary in Buffalo and a special primary runoff for a vacant state house seat in Alabama. Live results here.

Overview & Live Results: Buffalo Mayoral Primary, Alabama State House Primary Runoff

June 22, 2021

The mayoral primaries in New York City will command most of the attention Tuesday, with the winner of the Democratic primary almost certain to be elected mayor of America's largest city in November.

New York City Mayoral Primary Results >>

There are two other elections we're following. We may know the winners Tuesday night, which is not likely to be the case in NYC.

Buffalo Mayoral Primary Election

Buffalo is the 89th largest city in the United States,1 1City rankings are based on July 1, 2020 Census Bureau population estimates. They are for the city itself, not the associated metropolitan area. with a population of about 255,000. It is the second largest city in New York. Mayoral terms are four years. The incumbent is Democrat Byron Brown, who is seeking his fifth term. That would be a record length for time in office here.  Brown has two challengers

As was the case in 2017, no Republicans are running. The city has not had a Republican mayor since the mid 1960s. 

Polls close at 9:00 PM ET.

Alabama State House District 78 

Special Democratic Primary Runoff

The District 78 vacancy was created by the resignation of Democrat Kirk Hatcher after he won a special election for an open State Senate seat. 

Four Democrats competed in the May 25 primary. None received 50% of the vote, necessitating this runoff election between the top two finishers.

The Republican nominee is Loretta Grant. The special general election is September 7.

Polls close at 8:00 PM ET.

Upcoming June 29

  • California State Assembly District 18 Special All Party Primary

Ranked Choice Voting, Other Election Changes Impact NYC Mayoral Primary

June 21, 2021

There has not been a closely-contested mayoral primaries in New York City since 2013, the year Democrat Bill de Blasio was elected. Now completing his second term, the incumbent is ineligible to run this year.

This year, thirteen Democrats and two Republicans are vying for their respective party's nominations. Almost all the focus is on the Democratic side, as the winner of Tuesday's primary will be an overwhelming favorite to be elected in November.  

There have been a number of significant changes in election law and administration over the past couple years that will be put to the test for the first time in a NYC mayoral election.  While the overall goals are laudable - increasing turnout and finding a winner preferred by a majority of the electorate - the changes also mean it will likely be several weeks before we know who the Democratic nominee will be. 

Ranked Choice Voting: Approved for certain elections in a 2019 referendum, voters can select up to five candidates, ranking them in order of preference.  Initially, each voter's first choice is counted. If one candidate has a majority, that person is the winner. If not, the candidate with the lowest support is eliminated and the second choices on the associated ballots are redistributed to the remaining candidates. If no candidate has a majority, the process repeats until one candidate crosses that threshold. 

RCV is often called an 'instant runoff'. That is correct in that the process avoids holding a second election - required in some states - to ensure a candidate gets a majority of the vote. However, the instant runoff cannot be conducted until all the votes are counted and the ordering of the candidates is known. Due to the schedule around absentee ballots (discussed below), this is not expected until the week of July 12 (or later).

This will also make it challenging for the media to project a winner as the plurality first choice winner may not necessarily be the last person standing once all the rounds are completed. In fact, campaigns have been teaming up to try and game the system a bit. 

While RCV is the largest hurdle to media outlets projecting a winner, numerous other changes in election administration since the last mayoral race may impact the composition of the voting electorate. 

Absentee Ballots: The strict rules around absentee ballots have been relaxed due to COVID. According to Bloomberg, 200,000 ballots were requested for this primary vs. 18,000 in 2013. While those won't all be returned, there is clearly going to be a large jump in voting this way. By law, election officials cannot start tabulating those ballots until June 28. Voters have until July 9 to cure any issues (e.g., signature problems) if notified by the Board of Elections. 

Early Voting: This was the first mayoral election with an in-person early voting period. That lasted for nine days from June 12 through June 20. Turnout appears to have been lighter than expected.

June Primary Date: Since the 1970s, the mayoral primary has been in September. However, the state lost a lawsuit associated with presidential primaries being that late in the year. As a result, New York state law was changed in 2019 to hold all future primaries on the 4th Tuesday in June. 

Campaign Financing: A 2018 change in the city's campaign finance program increased the public matching funds ratio from 6:1 to 8:1. That is, candidates get $8 of public money for each $1 raised. The increase likely made it easier for poorly performing candidates to stay in the race. (Ranked Choice Voting also likely kept more candidates in the race).  

Election Results

On Tuesday, after the polls close at 9:00 PM ET, we expect to have unofficial first choice results for early and Election Day voting. However, this will exclude absentee ballots, which, as noted above, will not have been counted. The Board of Elections is expected to provide initial Ranked Choice results - without absentees - on June 29 and weekly thereafter (including some absentees) until all votes are counted. Complete results may arrive the week of July 12.

Ranked Choice is not an issue on the Republican side as there are only two candidates. It is possible we could know the nominee Tuesday, but that will depend on how close it is vs. the expected number of absentee ballots that won't be counted until a later date.

New Feature: 2021 House of Representatives Map

June 18, 2021

It will be a while before we know what the congressional district map will look like for the 2022 midterm elections. Each state with more than one district will go through a census-driven redistricting process later this year. This is not limited to states gaining or losing seats. As the detailed data needed for these efforts has been significantly delayed, many states won't have new maps finalized until sometime next year.  

For purposes of actual representation, the current district boundaries will be in effect through the end of this Congress, with the new ones taking effect with the swearing in of the 118th Congress in January, 2023. You can look up your current elected officials here.

The 2021 House of Representatives Map lets you view the partisan composition of the House. The table below the map displays incumbent information, as well as the margin of victory this past November.1 1 Any subsequent elections, such as special elections for vacancies that occur, are not included. It also includes the margin within each district for the 2020 presidential election. 

The default view is the 76 House races decided by a margin 10% or less. To view a different set of districts, you can do one of the following in the map area:

  • Use the +/- buttons to zoom in on a portion of the country. When zoomed one level or more, you can also drag the map to display a different part in the window.
    • The table below the map will update to reflect the visible districts in the map window.
  • Select a state in the drop down box. You will see a larger map of the state and a list of all its districts

Interactivity for forecasting the 2022 elections will be added at a later date. 

Click or tap the image to visit the URL.

Related:  Elected Officials Look-up>>

Overview & Live Results: Battleground State House Special Election in Georgia

June 15, 2021

A competitive special election for a vacant Georgia State House district near Atlanta is the highlight among three elections on Tuesday. 

State House Special General Elections

Georgia Districts 34 and 156

There are 180 State House districts in Georgia. Currently, the chamber has 101 Republicans and 77 Democrats. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022.

Tuesday's elections are for the two vacancies. Under Georgia special election law, all candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. If a candidate gets a majority of the vote, they are elected. Otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a runoff. 

The suburban Atlanta District 34 vacancy was created by the resignation of Republican Bert Reeves on April 30. Reeves was in his fourth term, and had most recently been reelected by a 56%-44% margin in 2020. There are five candidates on the ballot. This is the much more interesting of Tuesday's Georgia elections.

District 156 is in the southeastern part of the state, including Vidalia. The vacancy was created by the resignation of Republican Greg Morris on April 13. Morris was first elected to the legislature in 1999. He had represented District 156 since 2012, running unopposed in the general election each time. There are two Republicans and a Democrat on the ballot.

If needed, runoff election(s) will be July 13. Polls close at 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

State Assembly Special Primary Election

Wisconsin District 37

There are 99 Assembly districts in Wisconsin. Currently, the chamber has 60 Republicans and 38 Democrats. The next regularly scheduled elections are in 2022.

Located northeast of Madison, the District 37 vacancy was created with the resignation of Republican John Jagler in April. He had won a special election for a vacant State Senate seat earlier that month. Jagler had represented the district since first being elected in 2012, most recently being reelected by a 56% to 41% margin in 2020.

There is only one contested primary. Democrat Pete Adams is running unopposed and will be the nominee. Eight Republicans are vying for their party's nomination. 

Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The general election is July 13.

Upcoming June 22

  • New York City Mayoral Primary (Latest Poll >>)
  • Buffalo, NY Mayoral Primary
  • Alabama State House District 78 Special Democratic Primary Runoff