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MAP: See How Your Neighborhood Voted in the 2021 Election for New York City Mayor

Board of Elections workers count absentee ballots in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Nov. 15, 2021.
Board of Elections workers count absentee ballots in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Nov. 15, 2021.
Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Democrat Eric Adams trounced Republican Curtis Sliwa in the Nov. 2 election — but with less enthusiasm from voters than term-limited mayor Bill de Blasio enjoyed when first elected in 2013.

Most New Yorkers stayed home this time around, final certified numbers released this week indicate, despite a surge in voter registration in recent years.

The results showed Adams, currently Brooklyn’s borough president and soon to be New York City’s second Black mayor, garnered 65.5% of the vote while Sliwa got 27.1%.

The final results also offered a district-by-district snapshot of how the New Yorkers who did cast ballots voted in the most crucial election in at least a generation.

Adams collected 753,801 total votes, slightly more than de Blasio when elected to the first of his two terms eight years ago. But those votes amount to just 15% of all 4.9 million currently active registered voters in the city, versus the 18% of the electorate won by de Blasio.

That’s because voter registration has grown by nearly 16% in the eight years since de Blasio was elected, fueled by easier sign-ups and increasing interest in presidential elections.

Kyle Christopher, a political consultant at Robbalaa Consulting, ascribes the low turnout in part to “voter fatigue from the primaries.” Many people, he said, “were under the impression that Adams had already won or their local Democratic candidate had already prevailed.”

Meanwhile, Sliwa picked up a total of 312,385 votes — 47,965 more ballots than 2013 GOP candidate Joe Lhota, who also ran in the Conservative ballot line.

In all, 23.2% of active registered voters cast ballots in the Adams versus Sliwa showdown. That’s the lowest since the Board of Elections began reporting annual turnout in 1956, according to Gothamist.

Brooklyn Bastions

Brooklyn and Manhattan, home to 53% of the city’s voters, supplied 61% of Adams’ ballots, the results show.

Voter turnout was especially strong in traditionally liberal brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods that included Park Slope, Gowanus, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, as well as on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side.

Also turning out in force were voters in Republican strongholds such as Staten Island, Howard Beach and Rockaway Beach.

Staten Island, the city’s smallest borough, saw 33.6% of voters turn out, the highest concentration in the city. The numbers were largely powered by the borough’s Conservative and Republican voters.

In The Bronx, just 16.79% of voters turned out, the least of any borough.

In historically Black electoral districts in parts of eastern Brooklyn and southern Queens –– an area Christopher has dubbed “the bow tie” –– Adams saw some of his highest concentrations of support. The vast majority of election districts in those neighborhoods went for Adams by more than 80% or even 90%.

“In a lot of political science courses they teach that southeast Queens is one of the highest voting participation areas in the whole country, but you often get the narrative that African Americans, West Indian Americans, Black Americans don’t vote,” said Christopher. “Meanwhile if you go back for the last 20 years we’ve been deciding elections in the city pretty dramatically.”

GOP Gains

Even while getting routed by Adams, Sliwa turned out a few thousand more votes in Brooklyn than Lhota did in 2013 and nearly 29,000 more votes in Queens. Brooklyn’s southern neighborhoods also came out more heavily for the Republican Party this year.

The GOP surge helped elect a pair of new Republican Council members in Brooklyn and Queens.

“It says more about de Blasio and the general state of the Democratic Party under the influence of the far left than anything specific to Sliwa or Adams,” City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told THE CITY in a statement.

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