Explainer: Absentees Solidify Win For Adams In Ny Mayor Race

Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams speaks at his election party Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in New York. New York City elections officials plan to release a potentially decisive update Tuesday on the Democratic mayoral primary, two weeks after polls closed and a week after a tallying flub marred the debut of ranked choice voting in the race for the nation's most prominent municipal job. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams speaks at his election party Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in New York. New York City elections officials plan to release a potentially decisive update Tuesday on the Democratic mayoral primary, two weeks after polls closed and a week after a tallying flub marred the debut of ranked choice voting in the race for the nation's most prominent municipal job. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Eric Adams the winner of the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City Tuesday after nearly all absentee ballots were counted, leaving no path for his closest competitors to catch him.

The Brooklyn Borough president led Kathryn Garcia by a little more than 8,400 votes, or about 1 percentage point, after election officials finished tallying the results under the city's ranked choice voting system. Election officials were still scrutinizing a few thousand absentee ballots to determine if they are valid. But there weren't enough to alter the outcome.

Under the system, voters ranked up to five candidates for mayor in order of preference. Candidates with too few votes to win were eliminated and ballots cast for them redistributed to the surviving contenders, based on the voter preference, until only two candidates were left.

Adams was the first choice among 31% of voters, followed by Maya Wiley at just over 21% and Garcia at just under 20%.

As candidates with fewer votes were eliminated and their votes redistributed, Adams never relinquished his lead. Garcia jumped ahead of Wiley by more than 12,000 votes when Yang, who came in fourth, was eliminated. Garcia picked up the largest share of Yang's supporters.

But Garcia still trailed Adams, who surged to 50.5% of the ranked choice votes after Wiley was eliminated. Garcia had 49.5%.

However, Adams' and Garcia's share of the final vote can be deceiving. Nearly 938,000 votes have been counted in the race for mayor, and about 140,000 of the ballots didn't rank Adams or Garcia anywhere on their ballots, so those votes were eliminated under the ranked choice system.

In all Adams was ranked ahead of Garcia on 43% of the total votes counted, while Garcia was ranked ahead of Adams on 42%. Fifteen percent of voters didn't rank either candidate.