The last voting day in mid-term 2022 was held on Tuesday with no major disruptions and widespread problems, a relatively seamless end to the first nationwide election as the campaign of conspiracy theories and false claims began to undermine public confidence in how votes were cast and counted.

During the day, there were diffuse issues that frustrated voters but did not seem to affect the ability to accurately count votes. In Maricopa County, Arizona, where Phoenix is ​​located, some machine tabs were unable to scan the ballots immediately, a temporary glitch that began to fuel conspiracy theories. Problems with the voter list at the check-in delayed some Detroit voters.

“It was a pretty quiet, normal election,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for the non-party Common Cause group that advocates access to voting. “We had isolated cases of standard problems with the election administration, but nothing was common or particularly disturbing.”

In the Houston area, where Republicans focused on voting rules, problems with equipment, supply shortages and polling staff were reported at several voting locations but were quickly resolved, said Clifford Tatum, Harris County election administrator. In the afternoon, many sites in the county that is the most populous in Texas reported waiting times of 14 minutes or less.

Since the 2020 elections, former President Donald Trump and his allies have been sowing doubts about the U.S. vote, blaming widespread electoral fraud and manipulation of voting systems for his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden. There was no widespread fraud, and Biden’s win was backed up by numerous reviews, investigations, and judges.

On Tuesday, Trump and other prominent Republicans continued att*cks on the fairness of the elections, using routine voting problems as a sign of something suspicious.

However, the disruptions faced by voters were fairly typical. In every election, there are sporadic reports of clerical errors, long lines, equipment failures and polling stations that do not open on time. It is relatively common for some polling stations to remain open late after problems arise to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote. Voting was extended in only four North Carolina locations.

Hitchhiking in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest, has attracted enormous attention. The issue of printing ballots has impacted the ability of tabs to scan ballot papers in just over 25% of the county’s polling stations, sparking outrage among Republicans in a state where US governor and senate elections are expected to be imminent and where election skepticism systems are running deep in GOP from 2020.

“I’m embarrassed by Arizona,” Republican candidate Kari Lake said Tuesday after the vote.

More than 40,000 tweets about machine failures spread within two hours, according to Stanford-affiliated Election Integrity Partnership, a group of some of the world’s leading disinformation researchers.

“I am very sorry for every voter today who has been frustrated or inconvenienced in Maricopa County,” said Republican Stephen Richer. “Every legal vote will be compiled. I promise.”

Election officials said the problem was with voting printers at these locations. While the vote was unaffected, officials said ballots that could not be scanned at polling stations on Tuesday would be taken to the central office where they would be counted on Wednesday.

This year, preparations for election day were marked by concerns about further harassment and potential disruption to polling stations and polling stations where votes will be recorded.

Instead of intimidation, there were mostly mild reports of guerrillas waging aggressive campaigns in some areas outside of polling stations. In Washoe County, Nevada, election officials said the two men threatened the poll staff and were “aggressive” towards voters, including taking pictures of them before they were led out.

No other incidents have been reported in the county, including Reno.

At a polling station in the Woodstock suburb of Atlanta, 25-year-old voter Tyler Moore said she would not be surprised if controversy arose after the election. “Everyone is ready for it,” she said after voting in the church. “But the best thing we can do about it is just to vote.”

College students waited hours in lines to register and vote in Michigan, which offers same-day registration. Around 21:00, about 200 people were still waiting in East Lansing, along with about 500 people in Ann Arbor, state officials said.

Jessica Prozinski, who lives in Ann Arbor, brought blankets to hand out to the students after viewing the post on social media.

“I don’t know if I can get the blankets back, but it doesn’t matter,” said 47-year-old Proziński.

In northeastern Pennsylvania, Luzerne County, approximately 44 polling stations ran out of ballots. County attorney Mike Butera said no votes were rejected, more ballots were delivered to each constituency, and that polls would remain open for an additional two hours.

Federal cybersecurity officials monitored reported attempts to crash state and local websites by flooding them with online traffic, a form of cyberatt*ck known as “distributed denial of service”. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s website was unavailable for part of Tuesday.

“We still don’t see any actions that could make anyone question the security, integrity or resilience of an election,” said an official from the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with the agency’s regulations.

False claims of widespread fraud and manipulation of voting machines have spread widely among Republicans, fueled by conspiracy theorists on social media and at events held across the country.

Election officials defended the system. They record numerous checks to ensure that computers accurately count ballots and that attempts at fraud and cyber att*cks are identified and stopped.

Most voters will also give hand-marked paper ballots or use machines that record their votes in paper. They are used after an election to check that the vote counting machines are working properly.

Prior to the pandemic, many states began moving away from a single voting day to offer days or weeks of early personal voting and mailing ballots. No major problems were reported in the early voting period, when at least 47 million people nationwide had already voted.

But some of Pennsylvania’s largest counties tried to help voters repair ballots that had flaws, such as incorrect dates or missing signatures on the envelopes they were sent from. This has led to confusion and legal problems in the battlefield state, where a few thousand votes may be enough to influence racing results across the state.


Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. PA reporters from all over the country contributed to this report.


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