MT. GILEAD, NC - MAY 17: A man fills out a ballot at a voting booth on May 17, 2022 in Mt. Gilead, North Carolina. North Carolina is one of several states holding midterm primary elections.

A man fills out a ballot at a voting booth. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

U.S. voters heading to the polls today may face unexpected challenges — changed precincts, new voting restrictions and issues with absentee ballots — but federal officials said Tuesday morning they are not tracking any specific, credible election security threats.

The big picture: Election experts worry voting rule changes in battleground states, lingering distrust fueled by the “Big Lie,” misinformation and an increasingly hostile political environment could pose new hurdles on Election Day.

  • Courts are slammed with voting-related lawsuits, and election officials are preparing for recounts if races are close.

Driving the news: Donald Trump has been active on Truth Social on Tuesday, with baseless accusations of a “Voter Integrity Disaster” in Maricopa County, Arizona and calling “outrageous” warnings by Pennsylvania officials that it could take a couple days to count the large volume of ballots cast, among other accusations.

  • Trump has continued to sew distrust in election systems since his loss in 2020.
  • Election deniers are now running for state and federal level seats across the country, and Democrats have shared concerns that opponents may attempt to declare victory too early.

What we’re watching: Turnout is expected to be high for a midterm election.

  • 53% of the voting age population turned out in 2018 and 42% in 2014.
  • More than 42 million people have already submitted their votes early — a record for early voting in a midterm election, according to data from Democratic firm TargetSmart.

What they’re saying: As polls opened, federal officials expressed confidence in the nation’s election infrastructure.

  • “I want to be clear, we continue to see no specific or credible threat to disrupt election infrastructure today,” one senior Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) official told reporters on a Tuesday morning call.
  • CISA has scheduled two additional election security media calls for later in the day.
  • The Justice Department announced that they would be monitoring polls in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states to ensure voters’ rights.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has attempted to block federal officials from entering polling stations in Florida.

By the numbers: There were at least 127 election and voting-related lawsuits filed this year — excluding redistricting-related suits, according to Democracy Docket, a left-leaning platform that has been tracking election litigation.

  • A federal judge issued an emergency order on Monday prohibiting election officials from intimidating Black voters in Beaumont, Texas following a lawsuit by the NAACP alleging white poll workers had aggressively asked Black voters to recite their addresses out loud and closely followed Black voters in the polling place.
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that ballots mailed in undated or incorrectly dated envelopes must be set aside, which could result in 3,400 ballots being rejected, one election official told CNN.
  • In Cobb County, Georgia, 1,000 voters were reportedly not mailed an absentee ballot due to human error, which led a judge on Monday to extend the deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots to Nov. 14th.

Ballot issues have been reported in three Tennessee counties, as Axios Nashville has reported.

  • There were 16 reports of voter intimidation or harassment of election workers in North Carolina, as ABC News reported.
  • And the New York Times reports a right-leaning group in Michigan has been planning to challenge any close, unwanted election results in the state.
  • In Maricopa County, Arizona, about 20% of polling sites reported issues with tabulators as of Tuesday morning.

Flashback: Following the 2020 election, several Republican-controlled states such as Texas and Georgia passed new voting rules, which critics said would make it more difficult for some voters to cast their ballots.

  • Since the start of the year, five states passed five laws that could make it more difficult to vote in time for those changes to take place for the midterm elections, according to Brennan Center.
  • It’s unclear how impactful these changes have been, experts say, as other factors have helped juice turn out and many voting rights groups have made concerted efforts to educate voters about the changes.

What’s next: As polls close, local and state election offices will start to verify election results — and election lawyers are keeping an eye on potential recounts and hand counts in closely contested races.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated throughout the day.