The first wave of state polls have closed and could soon offer an initial glimpse into the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections and who will determine what party controls Congress and governors’ mansions from coast to coast.
- 🗳️Polls are closing: The first wave of polls closed across the East Coast, including in states with high-profile races, including Florida, Georgia and Virginia.
- Republican incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine won his reelection bid against Democratic challenger Nan Whaley, according to projections from CBS and CNN. Rand Paul defeated Democrat Charles Booker in the Kentucky Senate race.
- States where polls close at 8 p.m.: Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine and Connecticut.
- Some voting locations to be open later: Isolated polls in several states, including Georgia Pennsylvania and North Carolina, will allow voters to cast their ballots later than planned following unexpected delays.
- No major voting problems: Election watchdogs reported routine issues in key battleground states Tuesday but no major problems as ballots were cast across the country. U.S. cyber security officials say they are on guard but all has been smooth so far.
The latest updates:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wins reelection
Republican incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis won the race for Florida governor, defeating Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist.
DeSantis held onto a double-digit lead in the polls for much of the race.
The contest has been closely watched nonetheless, as DeSantis has built a national profile in what some see as preparation for a bid to secure the GOP nomination for president in 2024.
Crist, a former Republican himself, served as Florida’s governor from 2007 to 2011, re-registering as a Democrat after leaving office.
– Anna Kaufman, Sarah Elbeshbishi
Democrat Maura Healey wins Massachusetts’ governor’s race
Democrat Maura Healey won Massachusetts’ gubernatorial race against Donald Trump-backed Republican nominee Geoff Diehl. The Associated Press called the race at 8 p.m.
– BrieAnna Frank
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defeats Democratic challenger
Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio successfully fended off Democratic Rep. Val Demings in Florida’s U.S. Senate race to keep his seat, according to Fox and CNN’s projections.
Rubio, a two-term senator, had been the favorite to win in polls conducted throughout the race, while Demings, a congresswoman representing the Orlando area since 2017, trailed.
The contest has shaped up to be one of the most expensive in the country, with Democrats spending big, hoping to flip the seat.
Ideologically the candidates are split mostly along party lines, sparring in their sole debate over hot-button issues like abortion, border policy, and gun control.
– Anna Kaufman, Ella Lee
Republican Sen. Tim Scott wins South Carolina Senate seat
Incumbent Republican Sen. Tim Scott won the South Carolina Senate seat in the race against Democrat Krystle Matthews. Scott will now serve his second full term.
Scott has made repeated trips to Iowa, creating speculation he may be laying the groundwork for a 2024 presidential bid.
Matthews serves as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.
– Rachel Looker
Todd Young wins Indiana Senate race
Republican Sen. Todd Young defended his seat against Democratic challenger Thomas McDermott in the Indiana Senate race.
Young is finishing his first term as senator. He was set to be the frontrunner of the race and had over $3.5 million cash on hand in the run up to Election Day.
– Rachel Looker
Gov. Mike DeWine wins reelection in Ohio
Republican incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine claimed victory in his bid for reelection in Ohio’s gubernatorial race against Democratic challenger Nan Whaley, according to projections from CBS and CNN. Whaley was the first woman ever nominated by a major party for governor in the state’s history.
Peter Welch wins Vermont Senate seat
Democrat Peter Welch will succeed Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the longest-serving member of the chamber.
Welch beat Republican Gerald Malloy with just 1% of the vote counted.
Leahy, first elected to the Senate in 1974, announced his retirement in November 2021.
Analyst: Democrats must outrun Biden
Democrats in competitive Senate races must outrun President Joe Biden’s approval rating by six to nine percentage points to win Tuesday, according to Jessica Taylor, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
“The biggest hurdle for Senate Dems tonight – Biden’s approval,” tweeted Taylor,
That helps explain why Biden did not campaign with most of the candidates in nine of the top races. The exception was John Fetterman, who appeared with Biden and former President Barack Obama at a rally in Philadelphia Saturday.
– Maureen Groppe
First wave of polls closed, including Florida, Georgia and Ohio
Polling locations will close in East Coast states over the next few hours. Polls will close at the following local times:
- Polls in parts of Kentucky and Indiana closed at 6 p.m.
- Virginia, Vermont, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Georgia and Florida closed at 7 p.m.
- Ohio and North Carolina closed at 7:30 p.m.
- Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine and Connecticut close at 8 p.m.
- Polls in New York close at 9 p.m.
Voters on the west coast still have a few hours to cast their ballots. Key states on the West Coast are set to close at the following local times:
- Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona close at 7 p.m.
- California, Oregon and Washington close at 8 p.m.
– Rachel Looker
Texas county sued over voting problems, urged to extend voting hours
Harris County – the most populous county in Texas, according to the 2020 Census – was sued Tuesday by lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project and the ACLU of Texas on behalf of the Texas Organizing Project after delays in opening several polling locations.
The Judge granted the request, extending polling time an hour to 8 p.m. local time. Voters arriving between 7-8 p.m. will cast provisional ballots.
The county also has been plagued with voting machine malfunctions, resulting in long lines and closures at certain voting stations, according to NBC News.
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
GOP files lawsuit seeking extended hours in Maricopa County
The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit in an Arizona court Tuesday seeking to extend the hours of polling locations in Maricopa County because of earlier problems with ballot tabulation machines.
The suit asks a superior court judge to extend polling hours in the county until 10 p.m. MST.
Officials said the issue with the tabulators affected about 20% of voting centers in the state’s largest county. Officials have stressed that ballots in affected precincts will be counted, but the glitch has drawn criticism from conservatives, including former President Donald Trump.
– John Fritze and Bart Jansen
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul easily wins reelection
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sailed to reelection Tuesday night, crushing Democrat Charles Booker’s hopes that he’d pull off a massive upset and become not only the first Democratic senator elected in Kentucky since 1992 but also the commonwealth’s first Black senator.
Paul won a third six-year term in Congress, scoring a victory that the Associated Press called relatively early Tuesday evening as election results rolled in.
The libertarian-leaning senator ran on a staunchly conservative platform.
– Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal
Roe on some Georgia voters’ minds
Of all the issues at play in the 2022 cycle, Peach State voter Morgan Jones said protecting women’s reproductive rights was at the forefront.
The 38-year-old mortician said while many in her community might likely skip this year’s midterm elections, she said abortion was the chief reason she went to the polls Tuesday.
“With me being a woman, especially a Black woman who has a child… I feel that it should still be a choice of ours that we should be able to make on our own,” she said.
Voter Ash Dawson said the possibility of lawmakers banning abortion outright was the main engine for showing up to vote.
“I wanted to make sure I got some votes in the right direction that those rights are preserved for women,” Dawson, an urban farmer, told USA TODAY.
– Phillip M. Bailey
Donald Trump threatens Ron DeSantis (if he runs against him)
Donald Trump is all but threatening Ron DeSantis with personal attacks if the Florida governor decides to run against him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“If he runs, he runs,” Trump recently told a group of reporters, according to The Wall Street Journal. “If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering. I know more about him than anybody other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”
DeSantis, who is expected to win re-election as governor on Tuesday, has not commented on Trump’s jibes; he also hasn’t said whether he is willing to run against Trump in 2024.
– David Jackson
Nancy Pelosi says she believes Democrats can hold majority
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she believes Democrats have a path to hold the majority in the House of Representatives.
During an interview with PBS NewsHour, Pelosi said Democratic candidates are connecting with voters in their districts and focusing on what is important to their constituents, whether it be lowering costs, abortion or climate change.
“We own the ground out there today,” Pelosi said. “Just because a pundit in Washington says ‘history says you can’t win,’ is no deterrent for the enthusiasm we have out there. I think you’ll be surprised this evening.”
– Rebecca Morin
Voting times extended at some polling sites after delays
Polls in several states will allow voters to cast their ballots later than planned following unexpected delays.
- In Georgia, where polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m., at least two precincts are giving voters more time after opening late. A location in Cobb County will extend its voting time by 45 minutes and a location in DeKalb County will remain open an extra 39 minutes, according to state Democratic officials.
- A paper shortage in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, caused a judge to order voting sites there to remain open until 10 p.m. Polling places in the county were supposed to close at 8 p.m., according to the county’s website.
- And in North Carolina, voting will be delayed by an hour at three polling sites after one precinct opened late, leaving staff “locked out,” and two others experienced printing problems, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
– Phillip M. Bailey; David Jackson; Bethany Rodgers, GoErie; Ella Lee
Key House races to watch as results roll in
As polls start to close, here are some of the key House races we have our eyes on:
- California: David Valadao (R) vs. Rudy Salas (D)
- Ohio: Steve Chabot (R) vs. Greg Landsman (D)
- Virginia: Abigail Spanberger (D) vs. Yesli Vega (R)
- Nevada: Dina Titus (D) vs. Mark Robertson (R)
- Texas: Mayra Flores (R) vs. Vicente Gonzalez (D)
- Michigan: Elissa Slotkin (D) vs. Tom Barrett (R)
- Colorado: Yadira Caraveo (D) vs. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R)
- New Jersey: Tom Malinowski (D) vs. Tom Kean Jr. (R)
- North Carolina: Wiley Nickel (D) vs. Bo Hines (R)
– Rachel Looker
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What you need to know on Election Day:
Election denial group calls for protests
A group is calling for dual rallies on Tuesday in Maricopa and Pima counties to protest voting machines.
The group, 2020 Is Nullified, issued a call on social media for supporters to gather at 8 p.m. outside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix and at the Pima County Recorder’s Office in Tucson.
“Stand in solidarity with fellow Americans to demand a hand count” of ballots, the group said.
The group maintains voting machines are not legal and have not been certified. Election officials say the tabulation machines are certified by state and federal inspectors, which is required under the law.
Former President Donald Trump’s claims there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election have been roundly debunked.
— Robert Anglen, The Arizona Republic
Ohio sets record for early voting
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Ohio voters set a record this year for early voting in a nonpresidential election year.
More than 1.55 million Ohioans either voted early in-person or requested a mail-in absentee ballot for this election.
“This is an increase of 3.9% over the previous record set in 2018,” according to the Secretary of State’s office. The data includes all ballots received through 2 p.m. Monday, when early in-person voting ended across the state.
– The Columbus Dispatch; Rachel Looker
Guam elects first Republican representative since 1993
Republican James Moylan defeated Democrat Judith Won Pat to become Guam’s newest non-voting House of Representatives delegate.
Moylan received 17,075 votes compared to Won Pat’s 15,427, according to partial, unofficial election results from the Guam Election Commission. He is the second Republican to be elected to the position since its creation in 1972.
– Eleanor McCrary
New Mexico same-day registration brings 14,000 new voters by noon
Mario Jimenez, executive director of Common Cause of New Mexico, said voters were eager to cast their ballots.
The election was the first with same-day registration and 14,000 new voters registered by noon Tuesday to vote, Jimenez said. Another 100,000 voters cast absentee ballots and 350,000 people voted by noon Tuesday, he said.
“We’re seeing really good turnout for a mid-term election here in New Mexico,” Jimenez said.
– Bart Jansen
2-minute wait times in Georgia, Raffensperger says
Speaking to reporters, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said even with a projected high turnout on Tuesday most polling places saw a two-minute wait time.
“It’s just been tremendously smooth,” he said.
Georgia election officials were told to brace for roughly 2 million voters to show up to the polls this afternoon. That’s on top of the 2.5 million who’ve already voted early.
Georgia’s polls close at 7 p.m. EST
– Phillip M. Bailey
In Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s Virginia district, inflation and health care drive voters
For voters in Prince William County, where Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger is on the ballot against Republican Yesli Vega for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, the main issues include inflation and abortion.
Reba Gravelle, a 40-year resident of the Woodbridge area, said her candidate would have to support her views on abortion. “I’m a very pro-life person and so my candidate needed to support that,” she said.
Joshua King, a veteran and current deputy sheriff, said health care brought him to the polls for Democrats. King also took into consideration his daughter, who has autism. “I support any candidate who decides that they want to help out our special needs community because they’re marginalized,” he said.
– Kaila Nichols and Dante Nieto, Medill News Service
In Texas, Beto O’Rourke supporters argue with protesters over LGBTQ issues
Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican TeGov. Greg Abbott, held an Election Day meet-and-greet outside a public library in North Dallas this morning. While O’Rourke talked with a ring of supporters, far-right agitators jostled with onlookers and tried to disrupt the candidate’s speech, with little success.
The handful of anti-O’Rourke onlookers shouted statements about pedophilia and transgender rights that have become a refrain of the extremist right in Texas in recent months. Despite some high-spirited discussions with the candidate’s supporters, the hecklers were unable to push past them and get close to O’Rourke, who spoke to the crowd for about an hour.
Transgender rights have become a political lightning rod in Texas, which has also seen a surge in protests and attacks on LGBTQ-friendly events such as family friendly drag shows. O’Rourke has been endorsed by several LGBTQ organizations, and has criticized Abbott for his support of policies that he says discriminate against LGBTQ people.
– Will Carless
Biden: ‘MAGA Republicans’ don’t care about Black communities
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden warned in an Election Day radio interview targeted at Black Americans that far-right “MAGA Republicans” don’t care about African-American communities.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” Biden said on the “D.L. Hughley Show” when asked about his message to Black Americans who are still on the fence about voting.
MAGA Republicans are “a different breed of cat,” Biden said in the interview, which was taped Tuesday morning. “They care about your community about as much as … well, anyway,” he said, without finishing the sentence. “You’ve seen what you’ve got from that community,” he added.
– Michael Collins
North Carolina Senate race: Ted Budd supporters optimistic at polls
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – North Carolina has never elected a woman of color to the U.S. Senate, and many voters don’t expect that to change Tuesday.
Supporters of Democrat Cheri Beasley say they are not exactly confident, but some remain hopeful: “Some of the underdogs come out on top!” said Jannet Blue, 58, a Department of Motor Vehicles supervisor who voted in Winston-Salem.
Backers of Republican Ted Budd are more confident; his poll lead has grown in recent weeks, and voters said it just feels like a Republican year in the Tar Heel State. “We need to keep working people working,” said James Wilcox, 61, a Winston-Salem businessman.
– David Jackson
Arizona voting machines: Maricopa County resolves ballot tabulation issues at some locations
The Maricopa County Elections Department found a solution for tabulation issues that affected about 60 of the county’s 223 voting centers, the county government said Tuesday.
Printers at the locations were not producing dark enough timing marks on ballots, according to Maricopa County’s official Twitter. To resolve the issue, county technicians changed the printer settings. The solution has so far worked at 17 locations and technicians have been deployed to the remaining locations to resolve the issue, according to the county.
Stephen Richer, Maricopa County recorder, issued an apology to voters on his personal Twitter, promising that “every legal vote will be tabulated.”
– Ella Lee
Philadelphia voting ‘going great’ so far
PHILADELPHIA – Tuesday has been a “wonderful” day for voting in the city, according to Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Nick Custodio.
“It’s going great,” he told USA TODAY. “Nothing has risen to a level of concern.”
The overwhelming majority of voters have been able to cast ballots without incident and the processing has been “going smoothly,” Custodio said.
Polls are open until 8 p.m. and voters can turn in mailed ballots until that time in Pennsylvania.
– Candy Woodall
For some in New Hampshire, Biden’s stake in democracy gets through
BEDFORD, N.H. – For some in New Hampshire, where presidential candidates flock every four years, President Joe Biden’s message that democracy is at stake resonated with some voters.
Jonathan French says it’s why he’s voting for Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan over Republican Don Bolduc.
“I believe in democracy. Don Bolduc denies the election results from 2020,” French simply put. But at the same time, French isn’t sure if he wants to see Biden run again in 2024. “We’ll wait and see,” said French.
– Ken Tran
Mailed ballots drive higher turnout in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – There is a higher turnout today and the bulk of the counting will be done tonight, according to Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Nick Custodio.
About 101,000 mailed ballots will be processed tonight, he told USA TODAY, with the first tally showing five minutes after the polls close at 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania. The counting will take “the normal amount of time,” meaning most of the results will be in tomorrow or Thursday, he said.
Custodio is expecting a higher turnout in this election compared to 2018 because of mail-in voting, he said.
– Candy Woodall
Why one voter in Philadelphia is staying home
PHILADELPHIA – Standing outside a Save A Lot grocery store, Lori Dornan explains why she’s shopping after work instead of voting.
“My vote will just give a politician more money and power. It won’t help me afford groceries,” she said.
– Candy Woodall
Man in custody after disturbance at West Bend, Wisconsin, polling place
A 38-year-old Wisconsin man was arrested Tuesday after “demanding for staff to ‘stop the voting'” not far from a polling location in the West Bend Community Memorial Library in West Bend, Wisconsin, according to police.
A poll worker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he heard a man with a knife approach the library’s front desk. Voters and children playing in the area were escorted into the voting room, he said, and the doors were shut.
Library staff declined to comment on the incident. Police would not confirm whether a knife was involved, saying only that someone was taken into custody following a disturbance in which no one was injured. Voting at the library was disrupted for about 30 minutes, the poll worker said, but has since returned to normal operations.
– Lawrence Andrea
Get your 2022 live midterm election results here
The 2022 midterm elections are underway and American voters are hitting the polls to elect members of the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as governors in certain states.
Cybersecurity officials: Still no specific or credible threat to disrupt election operations
Two senior U.S. cybersecurity officials said Tuesday afternoon that the Department of Homeland Security continues to see no specific or credible threat to disrupt election infrastructure or election day operations, and that it remains vigilant to protect against foreign nation disinformation and malign influence operations.
The officials, both with DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency or CISA, noted that there have been a few isolated issues arising from within the 8,800 or so individual election jurisdictions in the United States, including Maricopa County, Arizona.
But they described them as nothing out of the ordinary and said CISA was in close touch with elected officials there and elsewhere across the country in order to understand and respond to any election day problems if needed.The officials, both speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing cybersecurity operations, referred questions about Maricopa County to local officials there, who have released statements and a video explaining how the voting machinery works.
– Josh Meyer
Voting rights group: Overvoting in NH causes some concerns
DERRY, N.H. – In New Hampshire, some voters are filling out more names than they should on their ballot, forcing their ballot to be hand recounted rather than being read by a machine. Voting rights groups worry the tactic called “overvoting” could lower voter confidence and slow down counting.
“We have seen a few loosely organized groups pushing for folks to purposely overvote their ballot to make sure their ballot is hand counted this cycle,” said Liz Wester, director of the New Hampshire Voter Empowerment Task Force, a voting rights group.
New Hampshire Secretary of State, David Scanlan, told USA TODAY that the state is already prepared for hand counting; his office has sent more election workers to polling places to assist in counting ballots.
– Ken Tran
Common Cause: Election glitches routine, with some ‘weird’ anecdotes in Ohio
Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause of Ohio, said most questions about voting have been routine, with a couple of “weird” examples.
A priest in Toledo was checking the identification of voters, Turcer said. In Summit County, around Akron, a man was visiting polling places and just watching before being asked to move along, she said.
But most voting problems reported nationwide were routine, such as problems with voting machines forcing longer lines, not systemic, said Sylvia Albert, Common Cause director of voting and elections.
“What we’re seeing is really what we see in every election, isolated incidents of some problems,” Albert said. “No election is perfect. Election officials are doing their job.”
– Bart Jansen
For some, Walker’s candidacy is about ‘grace and forgiveness’
KENNESAW, Ga. – Former football player Herschel Walker’s personal controversies have made his Senate campaign a target for Democrats, but many Georgia voters think differently.
“Herschel is real, he’s one of us,” voter Tricia Choi, 55, told USA TODAY. Choi said for many Walker’s story is about the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, which she said appeals to faith-based voters.
Walker, who is running to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, has been accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife. Most recently, allegations surfaced that he pressured former girlfriends to have abortions, which he has denied.
– Phillip M. Bailey
Mark Kelly, Blake Masters set for final pitch in Arizona Senate race
On one side is Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat and former astronaut whose wife was shot in the head by an angry constituent. On the other is Blake Masters, a tech investor and first-time candidate backed by a billionaire patron and endorsed by Trump.
The two are locked in what’s become an increasingly tight race, with Kelly’s initial advantage in the polls narrowing to a dead heat.
With hours to go until polling places close, Kelly planned to hit get-out-the-vote events in west Phoenix and Tucson. Masters planned to spend election night at the Arizona Republican Party’s watch event in Scottsdale.
Maricopa County, where problems have been reported at one out of five polling sites, is home to Phoenix and is Arizona’s most populous county. It’s also one of the largest in the nation – and while it has tended to vote for Republican candidates in recent years, Biden carried it in 2020.
The vote there will likely be critical to deciding the tossup Senate race.
— Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, Donovan Slack, and John Fritze
Snowstorm greets voters in crucial swing county
It was a snowy Election Day in Washoe County, Nevada.
The county is crucial territory for Nevada – and the nation – as Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is fending off a challenge from Trump-backed Republican Adam Laxalt. The contest is among a handful that could determine who controls the Senate – and the fate of Biden’s agenda for the next two years.
Marc Picker, poll manager at Damonte Ranch High School, said turnout so far is among the highest he has seen despite the weather. One Democratic voter, Reno resident Margaret Smith, said few flakes wouldn’t have kept her away.
“I’m like the U.S. Postal Service – neither rain, sleet or snow will stop me from going out like Santa,” Smith said. “(Voting) is that important.”
Another Reno voter, Jim Lewis, agreed, despite being on the opposite end of the political spectrum. “If they like their freedom and liberty, they should go out there and not be afraid,” he said.
— Jason Hidalgo, Reno Gazette Journal, and Donovan Slack
Stocks rally on expectations of GOP inroads
Stocks rallied Tuesday on expectations that Republicans will retake at least one chamber of Congress, likely the House of Representatives. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 1.5% as of 1 p.m. ET. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were also up by more than 1%.
Stocks tend to perform better when in a divided Congress gridlock since it can restrict government spending and hold up new legislation that can negatively impact stocks, analysts said.
— Elisabeth Buchwald and Medora Lee
More debates is what some voters wanted
AVONDALE ESTATES, Ga. — Coming out of his polling place in DeKalb County, voter Gregory Ewing said what was most aggravating during the 2022 midterms was the lack of debates.
As USA TODAY reported in September many candidates sought to avoid each other in some of the most high-profile races.
Ewing said Georgians deserved more chances to see a direct contrast between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker on stage in the final weeks of the race.
“It’s hard to know what the truth is with these ads. The closest place we can get to the truth and how candidates really think is through a debate,” he said.
— Phillip M. Bailey
Illinois county reports election-related cyberattack, but voting not compromised, officials say
Champaign County, Ill., is fighting off an election-related cyberattack that is unrelated to actual voting operations, according to officials there, who say connectivity issues and computer server performance are making it harder – but not impossible – for people to vote.
“The Clerk’s Office believes these are due to cyber-attacks on the network and servers,” Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons said in a news release.
Chief Deputy Clerk Angie Patton told USA TODAY that the clerk’s office has been the target of repeated DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service, attacks and that she believes other counties may have been targeted as well.
But she said IT specialists have secured the Clerk’s website – and election operations – and that no data or information has been compromised and the election is secure. She urged voters waiting in long lines to either wait or go to another polling place within the county since voters can cast their ballots there as well.
— Josh Meyer
At the top of the Texas ticket: Gov. Greg Abbott faces Beto O’Rourke
Texans have their eye on the marquee race for governor: incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott runs against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke caught the attention of the state and nation after running against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. Abbott is fighting for a third term.
Abbott has led ahead of O’Rourke in Texas polls; margins sometimes reach single digits. On Oct. 30, a poll by the University of Texas at Tyler showed Abbott leading by 6 percentage points among likely voters. Another October poll by the University of Texas Politics Project showed Abbott leading by 11 points.
O’Rourke seeks to galvanize voters around abortion access and gun legislation. O’Rourke’s final ad ahead of Election Day centered around his support for abortion access.
— Nusaiba Mizan
Biden spending Election Day at the White House
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is spending Election Day at the White House with no public events on his schedule.
The White House said he dropped in on a virtual phone bank by the Democratic National Committee to thank staff and volunteers and taped a radio interview targeted at Black Americans.
The president has already cast his midterm ballot. Accompanied by one of his granddaughters, a first-time voter, Biden voted in Wilmington, Delaware, on Oct. 29.
Biden is expected to address the nation about the election results on Wednesday, though they are likely to be incomplete at that point.
— Michael Collins
Trump says he voted for DeSantis, hints again at presidential run
Former President Donald Trump said he voted Tuesday morning for Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, while also dropping more hints that he’ll soon declare a third run for the White House, according to media reports.
Trump spoke to the media after he cast his vote at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on Tuesday morning, according to video posted by the local CBS news station CBS12. Former first lady Melania Trump joined him. “No matter who you vote for, you have to vote,” Trump told a sparse crowd outside the polling station.
Trump also repeated that he’ll be making an announcement a week from today at his Mar-a-Lago home and resort in Palm Beach, though he didn’t say about what. “I think Tuesday will be a very exciting day for a lot of people,” Trump said, adding that, “The country has gotten very bad. Its lost its way, its lost its confidence.”
— Josh Meyer
LA voters elect mayor amid political turmoil
Los Angeles voters headed to the polls Tuesday to elect a new mayor amid political tumult in the nation’s second-largest city.
U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, a former state Assembly leader and Democrat who is backed by President Joe Biden, could become the first Black woman to hold the job. She faces developer Rick Caruso, a billionaire Republican turned Democrat, who has campaigned on a platform of change.
The winner fills the seat of embattled Democrat Eric Garcetti, whose nomination to become U.S. ambassador to India is stalled in the Senate.
The election comes just weeks after City Hall was embroiled in a racism scandal that led to the ouster of the City Council president and urgent calls for the resignation of two more members. President Nury Martinez resigned after audio leaked of her racist remarks about a colleague’s child and Oaxacan immigrants in the city.
— Susan Miller
Catch up on our election-related fact checks
Accusations, misinterpretations and flat-out lies circulated widely as part of the pre-election debate on social media.
The USA TODAY Fact-Check Team debunked an array of the most common claims in recent weeks, which you’ll find here in our fact check roundup.
Our reporters assembled evidence and expert interviews to address false claims about ballot boxes, mail-in voting and vote counting. And we corrected claims that missed the mark attempting to attack ballot initiatives in Michigan, California and Connecticut.
We’ll update this roundup throughout the week as we research additional claims.
— Eric Litke
Arizona’s Maricopa County reports issues at 20% of voting locations
Maricopa County elections official now say 20% of the county’s voting locations are reporting problems. That’s double the estimate the county provided earlier in the day.
“We’re doing what we can to get these back online. It’s not like both of the tabulators are having these issues. It may only be one (at a location),” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said on Tuesday morning during an impromptu news conference.
Maricopa County has 223 voting centers.
Voters at impacted sites have two options: to cast their ballot via a secure box to be counted later or to go vote at a different location. Elections Department spokesperson Megan Gilbertson said poll workers are best equipped to help voters ensure their ballot is successfully cast.
“It’s important for voters to talk to the poll workers on site,” Gilbertson said.
— Anne Ryman and Sasha Hupka
Virginia voters can register today, then vote
Virginia’s same-day voter registration law went into effect last month. In theory, that could make it easier for some folks to vote on Election Day.
Same-day registration ballots are provisional and will be evaluated by local registrars later this week to confirm voter eligibility.
Donald Sutton, the chief election official at the Virginia Beach 5th Precinct, said the new law isn’t a big departure from business as usual.
– Grant Schwab, Medill News Service
Voting problems? There’s a hotline for that!
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is administering an election-protection hotline for voters experiencing problems at the polls.
Volunteers are manning the phones at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). There are also hotlines in other languages:
Spanish/English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
Asian languages/English: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683)
Arabic/English: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)
— Donovan Slack
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania…
PHILADELPHIA – There’s a guy dancing in a cardboard, drop-box costume outside City Hall.
— Candy Woodall
Florida rejects federal election monitors; feds say no biggie since monitors are outside anyway
Florida’s top election official said Tuesday that the state won’t allow federal monitors at polling locations in South Florida because it’s against state law and federal authorities failed to present any evidence for such an action.
Secretary of State Cord Byrd told reporters in Tallahassee that state officials “wanted to make it clear that (polling locations) are places for election workers and for voters, not for anyone else.”
The Justice Department said Monday that it was deploying election monitors to 64 jurisdictions across the country, including three counties in South Florida: Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.
Brad McVay, an attorney with Florida’s Department of State, sent the Justice Department a letter Monday. “None of the counties are currently subject to any election-related federal consent decrees,” he wrote. “None of the counties have been accused of violating the rights of language or racial minorities or of the elderly or disabled.”
The Justice Department confirmed receipt of the Florida letter but declined to comment except to indicate that federal monitors would be outside the polling places.
— Doug Soule, USA Today Network-Florida, and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
Is Miami-Dade turning red? Voting numbers tell the story
Miami-Dade County is one of the biggest and most coveted prizes for any statewide candidate in Florida, and Democrats have owned it for years.
Consider the fact that Miami-Dade hasn’t voted for a Republican since 1988 and hasn’t backed a Republican governor since 2002. That may be changing this year. Early voting numbers as of Tuesday morning show Republicans holding a slight edge of almost 4,000 votes over Democrats.
If the numbers hold up, it would represent one of the most dramatic electoral turnarounds in Florida history and may solidify the Sunshine State as a red, Republican state moving forward.
— Sergio Bustos, USA Today Network-Florida Enterprise/Politics Editor
YOUR GUIDE TO MIDTERMS:Voting rights, ballot access and key issues: A guide to midterm elections in your state
Don Bolduc says he will accept Election 2022 results if he loses to Maggie Hassan
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc said Tuesday that his opponent, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, is out of touch in accusing him of being “extreme” and an “election-denier,” saying he will concede the election Tuesday if he loses.
Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general, made those remarks after voting at the Stratham Memorial School in the town where he lives.
— Max Sullivan
Voting begins smoothly in contested Nevada Senate race
At the Desert Breeze Community Center outside Las Vegas, approximately 100 people waited in line as the polls opened at 7 a.m. Robert Streat, 73, was among the first to cast a ballot, a personal in-person voting tradition he said dates back decades.
Streat said he opposes Biden’s agenda and worries the country is changing too fast from the values he helped defend in Vietnam. He said he supported Republican candidates in the election.
“This country is going to hell if we don’t change it. We’ve got too many people who hate it,” he said. “We should control the government but we’ve lost it.”
But Jonathan Copeland, 55, said he worries that Republican control of the House and Senate would mean further erosion of abortion rights, which he supports. Copeland said he voted to help defend the seat of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat in danger of losing to Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. A Laxalt victory would help flip the Senate to Republican control.
“What politician has the right to tell a woman what to do?” Copeland said.
— Trevor Hughes
Election watchdog Common Cause reports routine polling problems in battleground states
Common Cause officials reported during a 10 a.m. news conference routine problems with voting in battleground states, but urged voters who cast ballots by mail to track them and make sure they were counted.
Amy Keith, program director for Common Cause in Florida, said more than 15,000 absentee ballots were flagged by Thursday for problems such as a missing signature. Voters have until Thursday at 5 p.m. to fix the problems, but with a tropical storm hurtling toward the state, Keith urged voters to vote move briskly.
She said 2.2 million voters voted early in person and another 2.5 million voted early by mail.
“Floridians are coming out to have their voices heard,” Keith said.
— Bart Jansen
U.S. cybersecurity officials see no attacks on election infrastructure yet
U.S. cybersecurity officials so far have seen no indications of direct attacks on election infrastructure across the United States in the early hours of mid-term voting Tuesday. But they remain on high alert to disinformation operations and efforts to sway voters’ opinions by nation-states such as Russia, China and Iran, a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told reporters.
The senior CISA official said those three nations continue to use the election disinformation playbook they have in past elections, and that CISA will continue to support election officials nationwide to any risks that may arise because of them.
In the first of three election security media briefings scheduled for Tuesday, the official would not say whether such foreign disinformation efforts are worse than in past election cycles, but confirmed that CISA is especially on guard against Russian malign influence campaigns following yesterday’s claim by sanctioned Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin that the Kremlin has meddled in U.S. elections and will continue to do so.
— Josh Meyer
New Hampshire governor: Trump announcing 2024 run soon comes at ‘worst time’
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican running for reelection, was one of the first in line to cast his ballot, and when asked about reports former President Donald Trump is expected to announce a 2024 presidential run, he said it seemed like poor timing.
“Anyone who thinks it’s a smart idea to announce an election, a potential presidential bid, after (Tuesday’s) election but before Christmas, is just the worst time you could possibly do it,” Sununu said. “My sense is the former president needs better advisers if that’s really what his strategy’s going to be.”
As he has crisscrossed the country to campaign for Republican midterm candidates, Trump has increasingly hinted that he may launch a 2024 White House bid soon after the midterms. At a Monday night rally in Dayton, Ohio, he told supporters he was planning a “very big announcement” on Nov. 15 from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
— Max Sullivan
There’s a reason for all those negative campaign ads…
On Election Day 2022, Americans are unhappy with the present, pessimistic about the future and not fully enamored with either political party. Their anxious, angry mood helps explain why campaign appeals have mostly turned not on aspirational promises – on exploring space or ending poverty, say – but on ominous warnings about the dangers of supporting the other side.
“Probably not since even the Civil War (has there been) such a dire situation for our democracy as we are in the current day,” said John Mark Hansen, a political scientist at the University of Chicago.
Lessons learned in the midterms include those on the importance of the economy and the emergence of the extremes, among others. Also, the next campaign has already begun, so if you wanted to take a breath before 2024, you’re out of luck.
— Susan Page
In Ohio, voters to weigh rules for future elections along with Ryan vs. Vance contest
After months of campaigns, debates, primaries, absentee and early voting, polls in Ohio opened at 6:30 a.m. EST and will remain open until 7:30 EST.
One key issue is a ballot measure on rules for future elections. Issue 2 would prohibit noncitizens from voting, proposing that only adult U.S. citizens who legally reside and are registered to vote in Ohio for at least 30 days can cast a ballot in future state and local elections.
The most high-profile race in the state is the contest between Republican J.D. Vance and Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan that will help decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. Voters will also choose between incumbent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and his Democratic challenger Nan Whaley. While polls show a tight race for the Senate seat, DeWine has had a wide lead over Whaley in many polls.
— Micah Walker and Caren Bohan
Election officials: Disrupt ‘at your peril’
Top election officials in key states with tight contests are ready for potential disruptions as voters head to the polls – and the ballots are counted afterward.
In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said her office is coordinating closely with law enforcement, deploying dozens of monitors to polling paces, and is prepared to eject poll workers who violate rules.
In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said his office set up a texting system for poll workers in 85 counties to report problems and has state patrol officers and the National Guard ready to provide security.
In Arizona, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates said officials throughout the county are ready to respond and are closely coordinating with law enforcement to ensure balloting goes smoothly.
“Our message has been very clear to those who would try and disrupt this election: They do it at their peril,” Gates told reporters at a recent briefing hosted by The Center for Election Innovation & Research. “We’re going to respond very strongly to that.”
One of his biggest worries are influencers on social media trying to sow distrust and misinformation when the results aren’t immediately available after balloting is finished.
“It is tough when you’re dealing with people who may have four or six or eight million followers on Twitter and they’re saying why don’t they have final results in Arizona? They do in Brazil after one night, they do in Florida,” Gates said. “So you know we’re constantly pushing back on this.”
Still, he said, county election officials are ready for it. “The polls that we’re seeing show multiple extremely close races here in Arizona. So chances are, we’re going to be — this is going to go on for several days, and we’re prepared for that. We’re ready for it.”
— Donovan Slack
Voting rights in the United States:A state-by-state analysis
Voters must be patient for election results, Georgia group says
ATLANTA – With one of the most anticipated Senate races in the country being decided in Georgia today, the state’s Common Cause chapter is reminding voters that it may take days before the final results are known.
Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is engaged in an intense sprint against Republican challenger Herschel Walker, which could ultimately decide who controls the upper chamber.
Polls show the race is a dead heat and the Peach State has been a tight battleground in recent cycles.
“It’s crucial every voice is heard in this election and that means counting every vote,” Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, said in a statement. “It takes time to count every vote accurately and that’s why Election Day is not results day.”
As voters decide between Warnock and Walker, a record number of 2.5 million Georgians voted early this year, which shattered the 2018 record of 1.8 million, according to the secretary of state’s office.
— Phillip M. Bailey
When do polls open (and close)?
Voting hours on Election Day vary depending on where you live. Looking for what time polling places are open in your state? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide with the full rundown of when polling places open and when they close by state.
Dr. Oz doesn’t answer when asked if he will accept results
After voting in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, Dr. Mehmet Oz told reporters he’s proud of the campaign he’s run and that “Pennsylvania is going to send a message to Washington.”
That message is one of balance, not extremism, the Republican Senate nominee said.
After his brief remarks, Oz did not answer questions about whether he would accept election results “no matter what” or offer a reaction to his opponent’s recent federal lawsuit to have mail-in ballots counted regardless of date discrepancies.
He is locked in a tight race against Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Fetterman is suing in federal court to ensure mail-in ballots with incorrect or missing dates will be counted. Scroll down for more on that legal skirmish, likely one of many to come.
Election week … again?
The Senate race in Georgia could once again keep the nation waiting for results – not just on the victor in the race, but on which party will control the Senate. If the race is close, it could head to a recount, and if neither candidate gets a majority of votes, the race will head to a run-off.
That’s what happened in 2020, when the state’s two Senate seats went to Democrats in runoff elections, giving Democrats the majority.
“Georgia is completely up for grabs,” said Barry Burden, political science professor and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s possible that Georgia could hold the power, the balance of power in the Senate again, and we will have to wait.”
Georgia is not the only state that may have Americans waiting for results. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada all have tight races and varying rules for counting and recounting. USA TODAY’s Joey Garrison sorts out the races that could have us waiting past election night before winners and losers are decided.
– Donovan Slack
What are the midterm elections? Here’s what to know about them and why they’re important
Voter turnout expected to be slightly lower than 2018
More than 40 million voters had already cast ballots before the first polling place opened Tuesday morning, according to the United States Elections Project at the University of Florida. A little more than half that total were mail-in ballots, and the rest voted early in person.
The number surpassed the total for the 2018 midterms, when roughly 39 million voted before Election Day. The vote total in the election overall that year amounted to 118.6 million, accounting for a turnout rate of about 50%.
Michael McDonald, founder of the Elections Project, expects turnout this year to be 49%.
“This would be slightly lower than the 50% turnout rate in the 2018 election,” McDonald said.
‘Harder for them to cheat that way’:GOP voters hold onto mail ballots fearing rigged election
Disinformation disruption:Conspiracies about voting machines have Nevada’s Nye County set for rare ballot hand count
With 239.5 million estimated eligible voters, that’s around 117 million expected to vote – with as many as 74 million of them set to hit polling places in person Tuesday.
“That’s still a fairly healthy turnout rate for modern midterm elections,” McDonald said in an analysis. “Aside from 2018 –which had the highest midterm turnout rate since 1914 –the last time we experienced midterm turnout rates in the mid-40 percent range was the 1960s.”
— Donovan Slack
When do the polls close in my state?:A complete breakdown for Election Day 2022.
Who is running for president in 2024?
What happens in midterm elections today will impact what happens in the presidential election in 2024.
If Democrats keep the Senate and House, President Joe Biden can continue furthering his agenda, providing a longer record for him and other Democrats to run on (if he decides to for re-election).
If Republicans take over the House, they have already promised to launch a litany of investigations of the Biden administration that could damage Democrats’ record (and Biden’s legacy). If they take the Senate, they can block Supreme Court nominations and block legislation.
While no one has declared their intentions to run for president yet, some hopefuls will be on the ballot today and others have been out on the trail stumping for others in the runup to the midterms.
- In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is widely rumored to be con templating a run. He is favored to win his re-election bid today.
- In South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott is also expected to win re-election -and possibly run for president in 2024.
- Former Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia and is releasing a book and doing a press tour next week.
There are, of course, Biden and former President Donald Trump who are circling the idea of a possible rematch in 2024. Trump said Monday he is planning a big announcement next week.
Biden, who turns 80 on November 20, hasn’t disclosed his plans. Other Democrats waiting in the wings are Vice President Kamala Harris and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. USA TODAY’s David Jackson has all the tea here. But, but, but first – the midterms.
Experts warn voters to be ‘vigilant, but not paranoid’
As America braces for its first national election since 2020 – as Jan. 6 insurrectionists remain on trial, as candidates nationwide deny the results from presidential election, as the president warns of a “path to chaos” – experts on voting and extremism want to make two things clear.
First, voting in the United States remains extraordinarily safe.
Second, as millions of Americans still seethe over the 2020 election and cast doubt on the fairness of the electoral process, spurred on by lies and disinformation, the possibility remains of tense confrontations or even violence at polling places.
It’s a new normal for everyone – election officials, law enforcement officers and individual voters – who should be on alert, but not panicked, as they cast their votes, said Jared Holt, a senior researcher at the think tank the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and an expert on domestic extremism.
“When it comes to risks at the polls, I keep telling people to be vigilant, but not paranoid,” Holt said. ”Vigilance means being aware of some of the different things that you might see at polling locations and how to respond to those, whereas paranoia looks like believing armed goons are waiting outside your polling station now and maybe you just don’t want to go vote at all, because you’re worried about it.”
— Will Carless, Bill Keveney, and Trevor Hughes
Fetterman sues to have thousands of mail-in ballots counted
PHILADELPHIA – As all eyes are on pivotal Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Senate race here could decide which party controls the upper chamber, Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman is suing in federal court to ensure mail-in ballots with incorrect or missing dates will be counted.
His campaign is joined in the lawsuit by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Their filing late Monday comes after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 last week on a decision that ordered counties to set aside and not count mailed ballots with missing or invalid dates on their outer envelopes.
Mailed ballots tend to be sent by Democrats and the state Supreme Court order would prevent thousands of votes from being counted in a tight Senate race that polls show is neck-and-neck.
“The Date Instruction imposes unnecessary hurdles that eligible Pennsylvanians must clear to exercise their most fundamental right, resulting in otherwise valid votes being arbitrarily rejected without any reciprocal benefit to the Commonwealth,” attorneys for Fetterman and the Democratic committees said in their lawsuit. “The date on a mail ballot envelope thus has no bearing on a voter’s qualifications and serves no purpose other than to erect barriers to qualified voters exercising their fundamental constitutional right to vote.”
— Candy Woodall
Can independents vote in midterms?
Um, yes. All voters are eligible to cast ballots in today’s elections. Party affiliation can be a determining factor during primary elections to decide who each party’s nominee will be in the general election. Primary elections were held across the country earlier this year to select which candidates are running to be elected today.
Peeling back the curtain:How and why we cover the midterm elections, from the editors