Given the chaotic nature of the 2020 elections — all thanks to an influx of private money into election offices and an unprecedented expansion of unsupervised mail-in voting — one would think that election officials throughout the country would have readjusted in preparation for the 2022 midterms. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
Throughout Election Day, some Americans have been (unsurprisingly) encountering myriad problems when going to cast their ballots at their local precinct. In several key states across the country, local election officials are confirming a variety of troubles at the ballot box, ranging from malfunctioning voting machines to paper shortages.
In Maricopa County, which happens to be Arizona’s most populous locality, election officials are reporting problems with vote tabulation machines in roughly one-fifth of the county’s voting locations. In a video posted to the Maricopa County Elections Department’s Twitter page at 10:52 a.m. ET, Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates and County Recorder Stephen Richer confirmed that there are issues at “about 20 percent” of the county’s voting locations where “some of the ballots” that are run through the vote tabulator are “not going through.”
In the video, Gates explains that if voters “can’t put the ballot in the tabulator,” there is a “redundancy in place” where voters can place their ballots in a “secure box” attached to the tabulator “where those ballots will be kept for later this evening where [election officials] will bring them  to central count to tabulate them.”
The county has since issued an update claiming that they have identified the problem with the tabulation machines and are currently working to resolve the matter.
As reported by Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway, Richer has completely failed to live up to his prior promises of restoring integrity to Maricopa’s election systems. After becoming the county’s recorder, Richer “now uses his perch as an opportunity to regularly defend the Democrat-run 2020 election in Maricopa County” and “write op-eds at CNN against the type of election audits he conducted to gain power,” as well as “draft lengthy screeds lambasting Republican leaders and voters for their election integrity concerns.”
Most recently, Richer has come under fire for purportedly using county resources to lobby against Arizona’s Proposition 309, a ballot measure that seeks to enhance the state’s existing voter ID laws. The idea that Richer is an unbiased elections administrator is ridiculous.
In Luzerne County, local news outlets began reporting this morning of paper ballot shortages at several polling locations throughout the county. Election officials in the locality, as described by a local ABC affiliate, said that “paper was getting sent out by noon” and that they “had to order it in the morning when problems started to arise.”
Luzerne election workers also claimed to the outlet that voters shouldn’t be “concerned about their vote counting,” with the county’s acting deputy director of elections, Emily Cook, blaming the shortages on “a perfect storm of factors,” such as high voter turnout.
A Luzerne County judge has since reportedly approved an emergency petition sought by local Democrat and Republican Party leaders that will allow all polling locations in the county to remain open until 10 p.m., two hours after the 8 p.m. deadline set by state law.
“[T]his is a major problem. We can’t disenfranchise voters,” Judge Lesa Gelb reportedly said at the hearing.
In Mercer County, New Jersey, government officials announced that poll workers “became aware of an issue with the voting machine scanners” this morning soon after the polls opened. In a statement released by the county, Superintendent of Elections Nathaniel Walker said that “[v]oters are being asked to fill out the ballot as they normally would” and that there is a “contingency plan” in place for “all ballots cast at all locations to be scanned at the secure Board of Elections office.”
Walker also said provisional ballots would be available to voters who wished to vote in such a manner, and that more information regarding the ongoing problems would be released as it becomes known.
“Every ballot that has been cast will be counted, no voter will be disenfranchised, and the integrity of the election is intact and secure,” he said.
Polls are scheduled to close in New Jersey at 8 p.m. ET.
In Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, election officials have confirmed that they are “well aware of  issues” at a polling station in the locality that was experiencing “serious computer problems” on Tuesday morning. The problems reportedly occurred at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, where only two voting machines were working when the state’s polls opened at 7 a.m.
While speaking with a local NBC outlet, a representative for Harris County Elections claimed that the department has “had all hands on deck to answer the support lines for our election workers to get things resolved as quickly as possible.”
In a statement provided to the outlet later in the day, however, Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum seemingly indicated that problems were more widespread throughout the county, pointing to “a location at Baker Ripley where the judge had a mishap with a supply box and the key to the machines which then delayed the opening of that location.”
“The good news is that while voters are there waiting, there were other locations within the vicinity they could have driven themselves to,” Tatum said. “The long and the short of it is we have to control the things that we can. We need to control our supplies a little better, control our access a little better, and those are things we will assess post-election to ensure we get it right the next time.”
Polls in Texas are open until 7 p.m. local time.