Voting was largely uneventful despite fears of intimidation and conspiracies
In an election that had experts worried about vigilante poll monitors and the potential for danger for election workers, voting on Election Day seems to have gone off without any major incidents.
That is — no incidents that rise above the normal snafus and mistakes that come with every major federal election.
The highest profile of those issues may have been in Maricopa County, Ariz., where a printer issue meant roughly 20% of ballot counters were unusable early in the day.
County officials said the problem was fixed a few hours later, but many on the far-right rushed to point to the incident as further evidence of an election conspiracy, in a place that has become the epicenter of election denialism over the past few years. But election experts and federal officials were quick to rebut those claims.
"Whenever over 100 million people do something, something will go wrong. That is human nature. It does not mean there is a conspiracy," tweeted Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida.
Other issues of note included a Wisconsin man being arrested for bringing a knife into a polling place, and a ballot paper shortage in Luzerne County, Pa., that caused a judge to extend voting hours there until 10 p.m.
In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said her office heard reports about two disruptive election challengers, one in Ann Arbor and one in Detroit, but both left polling places without incident.
Irma Salazar, a Republican election observer in Milwaukee, told NPR that she went to the city's absentee counting center to see the process up close and "make sure everything is on the up and up."
"I haven't seen anything wrong or anything, like, nobody's hiding anything, everybody's been open and transparent," she said. "Seems like it's all going good."
Federal cybersecurity officials said Tuesday they had also seen no indications of foreign election interference aimed at voting infrastructure, but that they were monitoring a series of cyber attacks that briefly knocked some Mississippi state websites offline, including the secretary of state's website.
Now, the focus nationally will turn to vote-counting, which is expected to take days in some places like Pennsylvania, where, due to state law, clerks were unable to start processing mail ballots until Tuesday morning.
"[Election officials] are prioritizing accuracy over speed, as they should," Pennsylvania's acting secretary of state, Leigh Chapman said.
NPR's David Schaper contributed reporting.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.