by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Donald Trump took a victory lap after a discrepancy over test ballots threw New York City’s Democratic primary for mayor into disarray.
“Watch the mess you are about to see in New York City, it will go on forever,” Trump said in a statement issued through his political action committee on Wednesday. “They should close the books and do it all over again, the old-fashioned way, when we had results that were accurate and meaningful.”
But the New York City Board of Elections’s struggles with the first contest to feature ranked-choice voting also has broader implications for Republicans opposed to Democratic legislation they claim would amount to a federal takeover of elections. Many Republicans are instead supportive of a series of state-level bills described as curtailing voter fraud.
To them, the failure to clear 135,000 test ballot images, which led to the since-retracted reporting of results that reduced the lead of Democratic front-runner Eric Adams, illustrates the problems they say need to be addressed in liberal jurisdictions across the country.
“It calls into question the competence of all Democrats who administer elections,” said Republican strategist John Feehery. “And these guys want to federalize this kind of incompetence? Give me a break.”
The Democrats’ For the People Act passed the House earlier this year but failed to overcome a Senate filibuster. Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, sided with his party on advancing the bill but said he would oppose its final passage if it made it to the Senate floor.
Democrats argued that the bill was necessary to curb partisan gerrymandering, correct campaign finance laws that give too much influence to corporations and the wealthy, and prevent state-level assaults on voting rights. Republicans countered that it was a liberal wish list mainly intended to rewrite election rules in favor of the Democrats. …