Solid Primary Turnout Bolsters Adams, Lander Leads

There was a steady morning turnout for the 2021 Citywide Primary at the P.S. 153/Adam Clayton Powell Elementary School polling site in Harlem. Photo by Ariel Pacheco.

Win or lose, voters turned out in possibly record numbers in this year’s primary according to preliminary numbers from the City’s Board of Election (BOE) and Campaign Finance Board (CFB).

As of 3 p.m., Wednesday, a total of 799,827 votes have been counted for the Democratic primary for mayor according to BOE unofficial results. This only includes votes cast on yesterday’s Primary Day and from early voting. 

The BOE also reported sending out 221,008 requested absentee ballots, and 90,763 have been returned this far.

In 2013, a total of 646,000 votes were cast, 22 percent of which were from registered Democrats. In fact, this year’s total could be more than the number of ballots cast for the presidential primary last year where 847,683 votes were cast.

The high turnout was music to the ears of CFB officials, who fiduciary duty besides managing the city’s public matching campaign finance program, is also charged with helping increase voter turnout.

“It does look like based off the early vote and in person that it’s higher than 2013. We were hoping for higher turnout. We’re always hoping for higher turnout,” said CFB Spokesperson Matthew Sollars

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio was giddy with the turnout at his daily press briefing.

“New Yorkers came out in strong numbers to vote, to make an imprint on the future of this city, and that makes me really happy,” said de Blasio. “For so much of the campaign [due to the pandemic], campaigns couldn’t go out into communities the way we historically have. And yet we saw a very healthy turnout.”

As for what neighborhoods turned out for whom, CUNY Graduate Center maps indicated Adams nabbed support from outer areas of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, which is reflective of his coalition made up of Latino and Black voters. He struggled in Manhattan, Kathryn Garcia thrived in the borough. 

In the comptroller’s race, Brad Lander has a sizable lead over the City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Lander performed well in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan as the graph from CUNY Graduate Center shows.

On July 6, The BOE will release an updated tally with absentee ballots that have been tabulated so far. The BOE is anticipated to release and certify final results – including Ranked Choice Voting results on July 12.

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