After Trump and his supporters pledged two years later they would find alleged fraud at polling and counting booths with partisan observers, after an unprecedented threat to election workers, they called for ditching machines in favor of hand counting And following postings on internet chat groups calling for violent action to stop the alleged cheating, the peaceful election day saw high turnout with only sporadic reports of problems.
Election officials say they see this relative normalcy as the result of a joint effort by well-prepared poll workers and voters, as well as the fact that some of Trump’s loudest supporters are not as forceful as they claim. The underlying dynamics of midterm elections—which are always less passionate than presidential races, and voters don’t rally around a single candidate—also play a role.
Then there’s the Trump factor.45th The president is no longer holding a White House megaphone, or even Twitter, relaying his message to supporters in real time.Election results show number of people inclined to respond to Trump’s advice It has been falling since he lost the 2020 election.
“Our democracy is more resilient than people think,” said Adam Witt, a Harrison Township, Michigan, clerk and president of the state’s Municipal Staff Association.
Wit said election workers are helping to dispel suspicion in the community by opening doors ahead of Election Day to explain how the counting system works, using social media to educate voters and holding public information sessions. “The clerks have done a lot to restore confidence,” he said.
Officials have also responded to disinformation much faster than in 2020, using social media to smother the embers of unfounded accusations and rumors before they spark wildfires.
Within an hour of Trump’s purported question about absentee ballots, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) responded on Twitter, directing her comments to the former president.
“It’s not true,” she wrote. “Please do not spread lies to incite or encourage political violence in our state. Or anywhere. Thank you.”
A likely Republican presidential candidate won on Election Day. Not Donald Trump.
Pandora Pashall, election director for Chatham County, N.C., said the cooperation with the county’s emergency operations director and the extra safety help keep things going. Calm Tuesday.
She said there was an active effort to counter false claims, which was made by Election administrators who have often felt defeated over the past two years. Of North Carolina’s 100 county election officials, 45 have left office in the past three years, state officials said, amid a flood of threats from election deniers, personal attacks and misinformation.
“People are trying to break us,” Paschal said. But, she added, “election administrators at all levels are gritty people who will stay the course to ensure that American democracy never dies.”
There are some isolated problem reports.
Police say a knife-wielding man was arrested at a polling place in West Bend, Wisconsin, who asked them to “stop voting.” The man reported that he knew the library was a polling place and that the disturbance would trigger a police response, officials said. They said they had not identified a political motive, but said the man had been released on bail following an arrest involving posting a leaflet containing “threatening political and racial language”.
The incident halted voting in the precinct for about half an hour, officials said.
A potentially more serious problem emerged early on in Maricopa County, Arizona, which has more than 60 percent of voters. County officials said about a quarter of the tabulators at the county’s 223 polling locations encountered difficulties. Fixing the problem will bring many machines back online at the end of the day, they said. In the meantime, voters can drop their ballots into a safe dumpster. Officials said no voter was disenfranchised due to the failure.
On Wednesday, Maricopa County Commission Chairman Bill Gates, right, said county officials were baffled by the problems, which stemmed from printers printing ballot ink that was too light Read by the ticket machine. The printers were used without incident during the primaries, he said.
A judge has rejected requests from Republican candidates and the National Party to extend voting hours because of a glitch. Those issues could be at the heart of potential legal challenges as more votes are counted and the statewide race grows tighter.
Here’s how long it will take to call some midterm elections
Elsewhere, election officials breathed a sigh of relief that, despite popular voices in the MAGA movement promising to flood polling stations with activists and station monitors if they saw ballot boxes, there appeared to be few radical fraud hunt newbies and far cry.
In Milwaukee, an army of poll workers, watched by bipartisan election observers, journalists and international observers, methodically counted more than 60,000 absentee ballots in a huge conference room. At the end of the night, elections director Claire Woodall-Vogg and witnesses from all the major parties went from polling machine to polling machine, removing flash drives with the results and sealing them in envelopes. , and hand it to the county clerk.
Short, tense exchanges erupted when Woodall-Vogg opened a panel on one of the tabs, hitting the power cord and unplugging it inadvertently. She wrote down what happened and noted the time.
“I’ve documented the machine being unplugged,” she announced.
“you Unplug it,” countered one observer.
But the moment passed quickly, as the observer and his colleagues ensured the moment was recorded on videotape.
In an interview Wednesday, Woodall-Vogg said she couldn’t imagine how observers could believe she or a candidate could benefit by unplugging the machine. “I think he’s just a living example of what we’re facing,” she said. “There’s really no successful solution.”
But overall, Election Day went well, she said, which she attributed to adequate training, including how to de-escalate. “Workers were not offended when they answered questions,” she said. “I don’t care if people are taking pictures. It’s just, the more transparent the better.”
In New Mexico, Santa Fe County Clerk Kathryn Clark also saw increased interest from both parties in voting observations or challenges. Some challengers are “a little bit enthusiastic,” she said.
“We’re just reviewing the rules again,” she said, explaining how workers could resolve any issues.
Election officials have said across the country that they have more partisan challengers than they thought, given the pre-election rhetoric of figures such as former Trump adviser and popular podcaster Stephen K. Bannon. Less, the latter boasted a vast new network of “election integrity” activists. (“We’re going to be there to enforce these rules, we’re going to challenge any vote, any ballot, and you’re going to have to live with it, okay?” he said on a recent episode.)
About 50 poll watchers are spread across 74 districts, roughly double the number in 2020, said Nathan Savidge, a county clerk in Republican-dominated Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. In Ottawa, Michigan, a mostly Republican county west of Grand Rapids, where election rejection prevails, a local group is struggling to find enough volunteers to oversee the county’s drop boxes.
“Sometimes, with tactics like this, the story is intimidation,” said Suzanne Almeida, director of national operations Watchdog group Common Cause. “It’s about making the movement seem bigger than it really is… making the fringe idea feel very mainstream, like it’s everywhere.”
Meet the candidates who made history in the midterms
Bannon said in the text that he believed his strategy was successful. “I think people are fully deployed, and I think that’s why the issues in Pennsylvania and Michigan were identified and put on hold,” he wrote. The deployment of poll watchers in Arizona “saved the day,” he said, ensuring a quick response to the issue of ballot rejections by tabulators.
Michigan Senator Ed McBroom (R), who won re-election on Tuesday, said the election validated the system for some who were skeptical of it in 2020, in part because some of those skeptics were involved this year. process.McBroom wrote a legislative report in 2021, concluding that massive fraud did not characterize the 2020 Michigan election, And it was criticized by Trump and his allies.
“I think we have a lot of people who want to volunteer and get involved after 2020,” he said. “They had to learn the rules and the process. They took their time. They were trained. In the end, they largely didn’t see anything about them on Election Day.”
But some of the leading voices in the anti-election movement say their efforts around the midterms are just getting started. Clayta Mitchell, an attorney who has advised Trump in his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, said on a podcast Wednesday that a group she runs will make it easier to clear voter rolls by focusing on changing laws to limit absentee voting and make it easier to clear voter rolls. “Elections to Take Back America”.
In North Carolina, Paschal said election workers stopped partisan challengers from breaking the rules.
“We let them know we won’t tolerate it,” she said.
Beth Reinhard, Matthew Brown, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Greg Jaffe, Elizabeth Miller, Sam Easter, Kim Bellware, Ashley Cusick, Matthew David LaPlante, Rodney Welch, Gheni Platenburg, and Alex Hinojosa contributed to this report.