With the race for New York City mayor still in the balance, Maya Wiley has filed lawsuits that will enable her to have a judge review the final ballots of the primary and order a manual recount when close margins arise during ranked-choice voting tabulations.
The complaints were filed Thursday evening in Kings County Supreme Court, one day before the deadline by which all primary candidates could enter what is considered a standard legal action in elections.
Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley are currently in the top three, according to preliminary tallies by the Board of Elections. Adams and Garcia filed similar suits earlier this week.
As some predicted, Wiley’s legal strategy features another wrinkle: She is additionally seeking a manual recount of all ballots in cases where ranked-choice voting rounds show one or more candidates within a half a percentage point of another.
State election law already requires a manual recount when the final results between two candidates are within a half a percentage point. But that law did not take into the ranked-choice system, in which the candidate with the least votes is eliminated following each round of ranked-choice vote counting.
The possibility for razor-thin margins was evidenced by the most recent preliminary count. After eight rounds of counting, Wiley fell to third place, but she was trailing Garcia by fewer than 350 votes—a margin of a tenth of percent. That tally, however, is far from final; the Board of Elections has yet to include roughly 125,000 absentee ballots as part its ranked-choice voting tabulations.
Daniel Bright, an attorney representing Wiley, said that the campaign was asking a judge to order a full manual recount of ballots if such a situation occurs during the final counting of votes.
Wiley’s legal request applies not only to the mayoral race, but to all primary races under ranked-choice voting.
“This is a wide open race and as is standard procedure, my campaign filed a petition to preserve the right to challenge the results should we believe it is necessary,” Wiley said, in a statement. “For now, we must allow the democratic process to continue and ensure every vote is counted transparently.”