We know that New York Public Advocate Bill de Blasio came from behind (way behind) to garner the most votes in yesterday's Democratic primary for mayor, and with 98 percent of precincts reporting, we know he captured roughly 40 percent of the vote to Bill Thompson's 26 percent. Randy Credico, a longtime comedian-turned-longshot mayoral candidate, barely registered: he got just about 2 percent of the vote, or 13,666 votes throughout the city. So why is a tiny district of the Bronx showing a drastically different story? And could it matter?
Here, take a look at Election District 80-079 for yourself, via The New York Times' interactive voting map. That's up in Norwood by the Bronx River Parkway, encompassing East 206th and 207th Streets. It's pink, which means it went for Credico, which means it's easy to spot. See it?
As the map would have you believe, Credico captured 1,001 votes in the district ahead of second-place de Blasio's 36. That's 90.8 percent of District 80-079, which is astounding, but also a staggering turnout for one tiny district in the Bronx. In bordering district 80-083, just 126 votes were recorded; in neighboring 80-080, a meager 72. Credico received no votes in either district. Hmm.
"I've been fighting stop-and-frisk for 15 years and I think it resonated well in those neighborhoods," Credico told us. "I spent more time in the Bronx than Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn combined." But even he admitted the numbers look a little weird.
"Maybe the machine was messed up," he wondered. "[But] I don't know why de Blasio would do well in a black community in the Bronx—he never visited the Bronx! I was up there ten times this year."
If it's a glitch, it's not the fault of The New York Times (which built its map using data from the Associated Press). The Atlantic Wire reached out to the NYC Board of Elections and, after rummaging through papers and records for an hour, Marc Holder in their public affairs office sent us their numbers for 80-079: 1,001 votes for Credico in District 80-079, he confirmed. He declined to speculate on what could have caused the aberration.
So: does it matter? That depends, of course, on whether or not de Blasio tops the 40 percent he needs to steer clear of a runoff election with Thompson. Right now, in the latest AP tally with 98 percent of votes counted, de Blasio has 40.17 percent of the vote. As paper and absentee ballots are added to the tally, that number could slip. But, as the Wire's Philip Bump calculated for me, if the 1,001 Credico votes are an error and the total number of votes cast was reduced by that amount, de Blasio's percentage would creep up 0.06 percent. That's very little, but if de Blasio lands really, really, really close to 40 percent—well, then the mystery of District 80-079 could come into play.
Even more strangely, District 80-079 may not be the only district reporting such an aberration. It looks like Election District 72-051, in uptown Manhattan, has reported a similarly inexplicable 1,000 vote tally for a minor candidate—this time for Neil Vincent Grimaldi.
i found the weirdest district in NYC pic.twitter.com/NeMnZnJtH7— Ann Boobus (@a_girl_irl) September 11, 2013
But the Board of Elections hasn't confirmed those numbers. And if it comes down to a few votes for de Blasio to avoid a runoff, Credico isn't looking to pick a fight.
"Maybe I got 90 percent of the dead vote up there, I don't know," he laughed. "But if there's a runoff, I certainly would give my dead votes to de Blasio. I support de Blasio."
Update, Thursday: Credico's votes seem to have entirely disappeared in District 80-079, which means his total tally has dipped below 13,000. Grimaldi's lead has also disappeared from 72-051. But now the map's reporting a similarly baffling lead for Credico in District 72-050 in Inward, where he has where he has 1,102 votes, compared to 12 for second-place Quinn.
We've reached out to the Board of Elections; a representative says they're "researching that at the moment" and will get back to us when they have an answer.