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New York's election debacle gives an opening to 2020 deniers

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

WASHINGTON — In these polarized and conspiracy-fueled times, election administrators have one job: to get their counts right.

That didn’t happen in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary, which had already increased its degree of difficulty by using ranked-choice voting (for the first time) in a multi-candidate field.

First, election counters last week released the initial preference results from early and day-of voters (though, importantly, not from more than 100,000 late-arriving absentee voters), which showed frontrunner Eric Adams at about 32 percent, Maya Wiley at 22 percent, Kathryn Garcia at 20 percent and Andrew Yang at 12 percent. (All mind you, before ranked-choice voting kicks in.)

Then yesterday afternoon, New York City election officials released the ranked-choice results — still minus those 100,000-plus absentee ballots: Adams 51 percent, Garcia 49 percent. (It all raised the question: What will happen when those absentee ballots get tallied?)

Image: New Yorkers Vote In Mayoral Primary Election
People vote during the Primary Election Day at P.S. 249 The Caton School on June 22, 2021 in Brooklyn, N.Y.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

And then came the big mistake: It turns out that those ranked-choice results included 135,000 test ballots, prompting election officials to remove the released numbers from their website.

What. A. Mess.

And the confusion, chaos and lack of transparency all gave an opening to the conspiracy theorists and election-deniers.

Like the former president.

“Just like in the 2020 Presidential Election, it was announced overnight in New York City that vast irregularities and mistakes were made and that Eric Adams, despite an almost insurmountable lead, may not win the race,” Donald Trump said in a statement this morning. “The fact is, based on what has happened, nobody will ever know who really won.”

Fact is, we know who won the 2020 presidential election.

But the other fact is, what happened in New York only made everyone’s jobs harder.

Tweet of the day

All my friends are going to be strangers

Speaking of the former president, before he attacked New York City’s elections officials, he was going after former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr (for saying there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election).

And the attack on Barr is a reminder of all of the former Trump officials — including in the highest positions of U.S. government — that the former president has criticized.

He’s blasted the early backers (like Jeff Sessions and even Michael Cohen).

He went after the grown-ups who were supposed to serve as guardrails in his administration (Jim Mattis, Rex Tillerson).

And he attacked the GOP establishment figures who latched on to his wagon (Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, Bill Barr).

These figures were straight out of that Meatloaf song: They’d do anything for Trump’s love — but they wouldn’t do that.

And by not doing that, they still earned the former president’s ire.

House set to vote on select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack

The U.S. House today will vote on creating a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — after the U.S. Senate blocked the creation of an independent commission.

“The select committee will have 13 members, 5 of whom will be chosen by [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi in consultation with Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. Democrats have been pushing for a probe of the attack on the Capitol, while many Republicans have argued the process would become overly politicized,” per NBC News.

The chair of the panel will have subpoena power.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

285 to 120: The House vote to remove Confederate statues from public display in the Capitol.

67: The number of House Republicans who voted for removing those Confederate statues.

120: The number of House Republicans who voted against the bill.

Up to 50: The number of National Guard troops that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will deploy to the southern border, funded by a “private donation” from a GOP megadonor.

$15 an hour: The new wage for federal firefighters after a raise from the Biden administration.

33,790,231: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 12,025 more than yesterday morning.)

607,891: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 384 more than yesterday morning.)

325,152,847: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

42.8 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per NBC News.

57.2 percent: The share of all American adults over 18 who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The Supreme Court won’t stand in the way of a federal moratorium on evictions, which is due to expire in July.

Mitch McConnell wants to block the president’s agenda, but he also says Biden is the Democratic president he’d most want to be stuck with on a desert island.

NBC’s Henry Gomez checks in with the Ohio Senate race.

Trump says Herschel Walker is in for Georgia Senate (but Walker says he still hasn’t made a final decision).

Is Paul Gosar planning to attend a fundraiser with white nationalists this week or not?