June 23, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Linda Lee has taken an early lead in the Council District 23 race, election night results show.
Lee, the president and CEO of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS), earned 31.2 percent of in-person votes, according to the unofficial results released Tuesday night.
Progressive newcomer Jaslin Kaur, however, is not far behind. Kaur received 26.37 percent of in-person, first-choice votes.
She is followed by Steve Behar who got 13.24 percent of the votes, landing him in third place.
The remaining candidates — Debra Markell, Sanjeev Jindal, Koshy Thomas and Harpreet S. Toor — received less than 10 percent each of first-choice votes, with 91.92 percent of scanners reported.
The candidates are fighting for the Council seat representing the neighborhoods of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village. The seat is currently held by Council Member Barry Grodenchik, who decided against running for another term despite being eligible to do so.
Tuesday’s results are only reflective of voters’ first-choice. It also doesn’t include absentee and affidavit ballots.
No candidate earned more than 50 percent of the first-choice votes, so the city’s new ranked-choice voting system will be used to determine the winner.
The candidate with the least amount of first-choice votes — Toor in this case — will be eliminated and people who chose him for their top choice will have their second choice counted. This process will continue until one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes.
The Board of Elections will release the results of the ranked choice tabulation in one week — on Tuesday, June 29. The board will continue to update the results each week as absentee ballots come in until it certifies the results.
Kaur, therefore, still has a chance to overtake Lee’s lead once voters’ second, third, fourth and fifth rankings are counted along with absentee ballots.
The young candidate has snagged key progressive endorsements from groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and the Working Families Party as well as leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
District residents will likely not know the official winner of D-23 race for weeks.
The Board of Elections is not expected to certify the results of the primary elections until the week of July 12 or later to allow time for absentee ballots to come in.
The winner of the primary election will go on to face Republican James Reilly in the Nov. 2 general election for the seat.
Reilly is poised to win Tuesday’s Republican primary for Council District 23 after capturing 66.22 percent of first-choice votes, beating his opponent Alex Amoroso.
The winner of the November election will become the district’s council member.